CHAPTER 18

WORLD WAR

I

Outbreak of War. Shortly after the beginning of trouble with Mexico, the long period of peace between the armed camps in Europe suddenly ended and the Continent burst into flame. The spark that
set it off

was the assassination of the heir

to the

Austro-Hungarian
a localized

(hrone by a fanatical Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914.

Supported by the German Government, which believed
settlement possible, the Austro-Hungarian

Government

sent an ul-

timatum to Serbia, making demands that were rejected: whereupon Austria-Hungary declared war. I-Cvents moved swiftly and by 4 August, Germany, France, Russia, England, and Belgium were drawn into the struggle, while Italy, a lukewarm member of the Triple Alliance, declared itself neutral.

Before the conflict ended,

many

other

nations were

drawn into it. Turkey and Bulgaria joined AustriaHungary and Germany, while Japan, Italy, China, the Ignited States, and othei-s joined the Allies. Europe was the center of military
campaigns were
also

fought in Asia and Africa, and All told, about In 65,000,000 men were mobilized, of whom 10,000,000 were killed. lives lost and wealth expended no previous war in history approached it in magnitude.
activity, but

almost eveiy ocean witnessed some naval activity.

German

Miscalculations.

German

strategy in case of

war on two

fronts called for the quick destruction of the French armies in the

west before Russia could mobilize, then a rapid shifting of forces to
the east and the defeat of the Russian armies at will.
first

During the

few weeks of World War I it appeared that the German plan might succeed. But the Germans made two serious mistakes. The first was the modification of the "SchlietTen Plan," prepared years before the war by Germany's famous Chief of Staff, Count Alfred von Schlieffen. That war plan had aimed at encircling the French armies by a wide sweep through the Ix)w Countries and northern France and then crushing them against fixed German fortifications in Ivorraine. But the Germans, by withdrawing units from the right fl.ank to bolster the Eastern Front and shifting troops to the center, found themselves in the summer and fall of 1914 incapable of enveloping the French. The weakening of the right flank has since been cited as a classic ex-

ample of the violation of the
trated in the force that
332
is

princi])le that

to deliver the

mass should be concenmain blow.

The socond major
it

(Termaii error was the underestimation of the time

would take the Russian

Army

to mobilize

and launch an attack on
the Ger-

(lermany.

The Russians began

to

move much sooner than
Eastern Front.
in

mans expected.

To meet
sent

the dan<>er, the (xermans withdrew
to the

two corps

from the west and

them

Before they ar-

rived the (xermans had already destroyed the Russian armies in the
battles of Tannenl)erg

and Masurian Lakes

Au^ist and September

1915.

Had

the two corps been retained in the west where they were
it

badly needed,

withdraw

to positions behind the

might not have been necessary for the Germans to Aisne River after losing the critical
in Septeml)er.

Battle of the

Marne

Stabilized

Allies vigorously attacked the
their skillfully chosen

Warfare Begins. After the Battle of the Marne the Germans on the Aisne but failed to dent

technical develo{)ments of the

and well-organized positions, evidence that the prewar period tended to favor the defense rather than the offense at least under conditions where narrow fronts with protected flanks made wide envelopments impossible. More and more, leaders on both sides awakened to the fact that a transition from open to stabilized warfare was at hand in western Europe and that the expected short war was destined to become a
])rolonge(l one

(map

'">7).

Dover

Dunkerque

J
Boulogne^

Calais

<^ -

^^

Compiegne

WESTERN FRONT
I9I4-I9I8


• • • • •

LMIT

Of

GEBMiN ADViNCt.StO

^^\'i

Fhont Line, Oct i9ia Promt Line. Apr 1917
Limit

of

German Advance. Mar- JunI9i8

Elevations

m

melees

Mill,

.]-,.

W'lxtvvu Front, v.n'i

I'.ns.

333

mortars. They first used it on the Western Front in April 1915 against the British at Ypres. With the flanks of both opposing armies securely protected by the sea on the north and by neutral Switzerland on the south. The unanswered question was could it be transferred to the battlefield in time to prevent the Germans from breaking the deadlock and winning a decision ? : Xew tactics. barbed-wire. As the war progressed new weapons also came into use. that of mass became dominant. In industrial potential. could hope to prevail without first attaining overwhelming superiority in men and weapons. mortar. the only hope of victory for either side lay in a successful penetration of the line of the other. The stalemate along the Aisne was followed a ''race to the sea. Chief among the offensive weapons developed were gas and tanks. no attacker. skillfully coordinating terrain with firepower. neither side having won. and manpower the advantage was distinctly with the Allies. however high his offensive spirit. machineof hostilities deals largely with the efforts of guns. The end story of the war on the Western Front from that time first until the one belligerent and then the other to break through its opponent's defense system. and machinegun fire. To overcome it. Loss of these ports would have seriously handica])ped England in supplying her forces on the Continent and would have given the Germans valuable bases for future naval operations. Stalemate on the Western Front. Here chlorine gas. Such principles of war as maneuver. to break the stalemate.The Race by to the Sea. over. But the Ger- . too. and surprise could be applied only in a limited manner. and grenades. ern flank of the other in successive battles. the vantage to raise in the Germans initially enjoyed an adnew type of warfare. Because of superior long-range artillery and greater skill in the use of field fortifications. first moving out in platoon and section columns and then deploying in assault lines characterized by wide intervals between men as they encountered defensive small arms fire. Effect on Tactics and Weapons. Against a well-dug-in defender. caused great confusion among the exposed troops on a five-mile front. were required In attacking across the "no-man's land'' between the hostile lines in the face of artillery." in vvhich each side sought to envelop the north- By October the race was Fortunately for the Allies they retained all the channel ports west of Ostend.334 . the Allies had and train vast armies and jjroduce munitions and supplies on an unprecedented scale. economic strength. troops on both sides learned to advance in waves. The Germans fii-st used gas on the Eastern Front at Bolinov in early 1915 but without great success for cold weather spoiled its effectiveness. disseminated from cannisters and carried by a favorable breeze. economy of force.

The British tank was a ponderous vehicle invented by General Swinton of the Royal Enofineers who had obtained some of his ideas from American farm tractors. engendered by blood. drawn as they were from many nations and chiefly from those at war. But a breakdown in Allied tankinfantry teamwork. Yet despite the strong passions exhibited. followed closely by infantry and covered by a smoke screen. cultural. The side they chose was determined as much by emotion.rantre of 2. and political affinity and propaganda as by knowledge of the underlying causes of the conflict. Ignoring the admonition of President Wilson to remain "impartial in thought as well as in action''. Over a year elapsed before the tank was properly employed.") miles in battle.unprepared to exploit the surprise created by the This was a stratetrif blunder. It was natural American people. The tradition of non-involvement in European affairs was still too firmly fixed in the American mind. its limited ran<Te. but. infantry for success. was that it was unwieldy and subject to frequent mechanical failures. Quentin Canal. . the spirit of neutrality gradually weakened. the start both sides interfered with the trade of nonl)el- The I^ritish Xavy dominated the seas and blockaded not Germany but neutral European nations as well. enabled the Germans to break had spectacular success lines. initially but failed to penetrate the German using tanks prematurely the British lost the full effect of the surprise. there was at first little desire to become involved. racial. The British arbitrarily added to the list of prohibited items many connnodities only 335 not normally considered contraband of war under international law. coupled with new German defense tactics and the obstacle of the St. The tank was first developed by the ]iritish and French as a weapon to penetrate barbed-wire entanglements and overwhelm enemy machine nfun nests. aside from liad a cruisino. developed by the French. for complete surprise was wasted merely to attain a local victory. Both depended on close coordination with advancino. and economic ties. most Americans soon took sides. It weifrhed 27 tons and Its weakness. In a surprise attack the tanks mans were totally jjreen vapor. by which time the enemy had developed a defense against it. The British first used tanks in the Somme area in September 1916 in an effort to break the deadlock on the "Western Front. Both sides thereafter rapidly developed a variety of <rases of toxic and lacrymatory nature which they delivered mostly in shells fired by artilleiy and also defensive measures against them. From ligerents. as time went on and the conflict grew more violent and The Impact for the bitter. to display an intense interest in the struggle in Europe. The 7-ton Renault tank. was li<rhter but faster. In another surprise attack near Cambrai 476 tanks. By u]) the attack. smashed through the German forward positions. of the War on the United States.

But early in 1917. and Russia were all showing signs of war weariness. 336 German Hope . In April 1916. Italy. 6 April 1917 declared war on Germany. the German Government was fully aware that it risked war with the United States. unable to use its surface fleet. which proposed an alliance between Germany and Mexico if the United States entered the war. thereby inaugurating a new type of blockade. As was to be expected. ship Gulflight. Germany. President Wilson announced that American merchant ships would be armed. the Germans could not avoid errors of identification. peace offer. whereupon the United States at once severed diplomatic Germany announced a return to unrestricted relations. climax was reached in 1915 when the British liner Lmitania was sunk off the coast of Ireland with the loss of 1. France. Contending that the protection of international law did not extend to armed merchantmen. Great Britain armed merchant vessels and directed them to fire at submarines on sight. The decline in Allied morale also gave Germany hoj^e of ultimate victory. and ordered neutral shipping into British ports for search. now htistened the United States along the Early in March American opinion was shocked by the publication of an intercepted German message to the Mexican Government.blacklisted firms suspected of trading directly or indirectly with the Central Powers. the Zimmerman note. provided they offered no resistance. and the Germans had for Ultimate Victory. the legality of which was at once questioned. The succession of events road to war. one of which resulted in an attack on the American To meet this threat. It had taken the risk largely because (lerman naval leaders were confident that unrestricted submarine warfare would bring the Allies to their knees before American arms could become a decisive factor. Congress on their lives.195 lives. and on the same day an American ship was sunk under circumstances which for the first time permitted no excuse whatever on grounds of error. Germany retaliated by ordering enemy cargo ships sunk without warning. In returning to unrestricted submarine warfare. including 124 Americans. The United States protested the violation of neutral rights by both belligerents but in stronger terms to A Germany since its actions in- volved the destruction of life. Germany agreed not to sink passenger ships and to warn all other vessels before attacking them. resorted to subma- rines to stop the flow of supplies to the Allies. For a while the promise was kept and tension eased. Shortly afterwards. following Allied rejection of a submarine warfare in a zone covering the approaches to Great Britain and France. after President Wilson threatened to break off diplomatic relations unless it discontinued unrestricted submarine warfare. Six Americans lost With public opinion thoroughly aroused. In the next few days four more American ships fell victim to German U-boats.

during which the Germans advanced to the outskirts of St. that no army could be raised in time to render a substantial contribution on the battlefield.000. making possible an effective convoy system that in time nullified the (xerman subnuirine campaign. Allied war eti'ort on the seas. After several months of haggling over terms. tlie war 337 . raised a formidable military force. the Bolsheviks on 3 March 1918 signed a treaty at Brest Litovsk taking their country out of the war. When it failed.increased to 4. and concentrated its strength in the east where a revolutionary Russian government headed by Alexander Kerensky had launched a last offensive. Aftei' studying Allied needs in men and arms. and released enough men and guns to eiuible them to gain a temporary numerical superiority on the AVestei'u Front for the first time since the early days of the war. ])ermitting them strength in the west. went on the defensive in the west during 1017. a thoiough oi-gani/. The Russian armies disintegrated rapidly the Kerensky government was itself overthrown. therefore. and built ships faster than German The I nited States Navy joined the I'-boats could destroy them.00{) by the AVar American Military Activity Begins. and a strict disciplinarian. (len. Russia's collapse brought some economic relief to the Germans.raising a total force of a. Germany's one remaining hope of victory lay in the early elimination of Russia from the war and the defeat of the French and British before American troops could turn the tide of battle. who had come to power with the connivance of Ciermany.()()0 trained men to Kurope witbin a year and to lay plans foi. where ihey arrived in June 1917. Shortly after entering the Tnited States dispatched advance elements of an expeditionary force under Maj.er. . howe'i/'er. The I'nitcd States. a natui'al leader. in believing that Amer- entry into the war would bi'ing no siguiticant inci'ease in material aid to the Allies. The German Army.0(K)— a figure that was latei. and by November the Bolsheviks under Lenin and Trotsky. The Collapse of Russia. soning wrong on all Events proved their reaits points. and that no solution to the menace of the sul)marine could be found. shortened its lines to save man- power. increased the output of factories and farms tremendously. Pershing advised the War Depaitment to })repare to send 1. stimulated by actual war.1. During his career in the Army he had carried out every mission given him with imagination and vigor.0()(). The choice of Pershing proved to be an excellent one. he was professionally competent. Because of these developments.every reason to believe that Russia at least mifrht soon be eliminated from the war. who were suffering from the strangling effect of the Allied blockade. agreed to talk peace. to concentrate most of their military The ica's (irerman leaders miscalculated. Pershing to France. John . the Germans counterattacked.()()(). Petersburg.

Mobilization. The strengtli of the Army at the time was about 200. particularly if administhe 338 men needed by Army.shinr/ Itnitlinr/ in France. John J. It was clear from the all start that the time-lionored volunteer system could not provide the form of conscription was required. men to the colors.000 of whom were National Guardsmen in Federal service. AVhat many failed to appreciate was that raising a military force of several million men involved more than merely calling existing facilities. one that would require considerable time even under the most favorable conditions. Department. 65. (Jen. I'rr. often in circles where only shortly before confidence had been strongest.000 men. But conscription was not popular. As the months passed with the arrival of nothing more than a token force. Hope and Disillusionment. already shaken by bad news from Russia and Italy and the disaster suffered by the French in the Second Battle of the Aisne. Allied morale. For such were a task equipment. and instructors completely inadequate. 7'Ae Selective Service Act. declined rapidly. A . Many uninformed people had visions of hundreds of thousands of "Yankees"* pouring into France within a short time to give the Allies the overwhelming numerical superiority needed to drive the invader across the Rhine and bring the war to a close.Maj. many Americans believing that compulsory service was unbefitting a free i)eople. The high hopes of the spring and summer of 1917 gave way to disillusionment. To increase the Army twenty-fold and train it was a tremendous task.

000 were needed.tered by military authority. in tiie war convinced the AVar Department that the existing organization of the Army. Baker. When war broke out there were less than 9. received direct commissions. National Guard.810.296 men were selected and delivered to the armed forces in less than 18 months. Con<rress passed the Selective Service Act on 10 May 1917. screened. of the Their capacity for leadership far exceeded that of the average officer Army in any previous war. often to the detriment of the men in the Con. particularly the infantry was not suited to the type 339 . officers In World War I the Army attempted to select prospective on the basis of proved leadership and capacity to command. In previous wars appointments directly from civilian life had largely met officer requirements. the hiring of substitutes and the payment of bounties to induce enlistments. cers for the National Army was a far more difficult task than providing men for the ranks. Other contingents followed periodically thereafter until the end of the war. About 67 percent of the men seizing in the Army during World War I were brought in under the Selective Service Act. for service. Marine Corps. Candidates for commissions were carefully selected for the camps and Only specialists. such as doctors and individuals qualified for duty in supply and technical services. from the Reserve Officers* Training (^orps and Student Army Training Corps in colleges and universities. the age was raised to 45. and Navy. b}' the Secretary of "War. About 200. It was largely these new officers who led the troops that broke the ''Hindenburg Line" in 1918. when conscription was suspended. The law also permitted volunteering for the Regular Army. last two produced most of the officer commissioned during the war. and from The officer training camps and schools in division cantonments. ranks. Within three months.000. Newton D.000 officers in Federal service. about 60 percent of the number originally enrolled. Under the system. months. were selected.scnption. The act established Army and required all males between the ages of '21 and oO to register for service. the first draftees. The selection and training of offiOificering the Natioiuil Army. numbering 180. It specifically prohibited the twin evils of the Civil War period. lioped to overcome this opposition the hands of civilian boards. winning by their deeds the respect of friend and foe alike. Organization. then subjected to intensive training for a period of about three Those who made the grade. 2. Reports from observers in Europe early division. the National placing the draft machinery in Based on Baker's proposal. were commissioned in the new National Army. Officers for other assignments were obtained from qualified enlisted men of the Regular Army. and sent to training camps. Later. On 5 June 1917 the first million men registered and from this initial reservoir of manpower conscripts were chosen by lot.

of On the recommendation of General Pershing the strength of the infantry division was therefore increased to 27. the characteristics staying striking and tremendous trol. which derived from the use of the airplane in war.000 men later 28. At first the National Guard and National Army divisions comprised men from particular areas. Other organizational changes came about as the result of the introduction of new weapons. quite another for war purposes. machine neers. The War Department assigned the antinircraft mission. a regiments gun battalions. A division capable of greater and longer-sustained driving power was needed. and the aptitude of the people for getting things done. At the close of the war 4. a regiment of combat engieach. Because of great natural wealth. the Ignited States had a greater capacity for producing munitions of war than any other nation. and supporting service troops. three American infantry division roughly twice the made These changes French. as fillers and replacements from all parts of the land were assigned to these divisions. power. but. and German infantry divisions of the British. The War Department also created special units either to handle or to defend against gas. To estimate the military re(]uirements and to accelerate the machinery of production and distribution placed a premium on planning and organization. flame throwers. Probably the most difficult organizational problem that the Army had to deal with in World War I was the establishment of a smooth-functioning logistical system for both the Zone of Interior and the theater of operations.000 — was reorganized into two infantry brigades of two field artillery brigade.— war that was being fought on the Western Front. though enlarged The time. tanks. and other new weapons. had to crash through enemy deneeded proved were most that experience Front. The war created new requirements and demanded a speeding up of procurement.^ of these had been sent to France and 19 others were in various stages of organization and training. and the division to the coast artillery rather than the field artillery largely because the coast artillery because the fulfilling its field artillery had training in firing on moving objects and was expected to need all its resources in traditional mission. experience in mass production. This . But it was one thing to produce goods for peacetime use. Logistical Problems. they became almost as thoroughly mixed as the Regular Army divisions. production. It meant not only the mobilization of the financial and industrial power of the Ignited States but also 340 its coordination with that of the Allies. and distribution. World War I turned out to be a vast undertaking in which the resources of the Nation were mobilized as never before. the size of the unwieldy and difficult to condivision. fenses on the Western The War Department organized 62 divisions during World War I.

08 rifle was curtailed.sses inflicted by World AVar I. and many of the Hrst men drafted were trained with dunnny or obsolete weai)ons. annnunition.000. i)articularly in the cateo:ories of fig-hters and bombers. Under the circumstances proceeded smoothly. The United States did ))roduce an excellent 12-cylinder Liberty airplane en<rine. an observation and daytime bombino: plane.000 men across 8. machine ^uns and automatic rifles. France after fluly 11)18 were armed with Hiownin*. the construction of piers. The shipment of some 2. and to estiniatin<r re(iuii'ements and lettiiiii' contracts. and the ()()(). and initiated a mass constrtiction program of stand341 . New weapons weie slow in rollinjr from factories. railroads. the ITnited States remained dependent on the Allies throughout the war despite untold millions spent on development. reduced the turnaround time of vessels by one-half. would have been a miracle had everything When was the United States entered critical owing to lo. For those. Manufacture of the Sprin<rHel(l . This failure in plane output was largely attributable to the fact that the government did not maintain its lead in aviation and to constant changes in design after ])roduction had begun. S. the United States curtailed imj)orts drastically. 'riie British and French supplied machine <runs and automatic litles for most of the Army.000 miles of ocean was the major movement problem confronting the United States in AVorld War \. its plane production proo:i'am was unsuccessful. the shipping situation enemy submarines. to the construction of i)arrat'ks and facilities to house troops. To speed up the armin<>' of troops. The United States succeeded in manufacturing some aircraft for Avar purposes. Transi)ortation is one of the most critical elements in any logistics system. the organization of ports. In the United States most of 1!)17 was devoted and ex|)ansion of industrial plants. Follow- ing the introduction of the convoy system. and planning and coordination all along the line of communications from the source it of ])roduction to the point of delivery in the theater of operations. To further reduce the strain on Allied shipping. which was put into the British De Havilland 4. the AVar Department adopted the l^ritish Ivee-Entield ritle moditied to take r. roads.()()0 available were issued to Ke<>ular Army units only. on the whole. These i)roved to be far moi'e reliable and etl'ective than those bought from the Allies. to the letoolino1 precedented number of ships of all kinds. Josses were cut sharply. Success demanded an unI'lothict'wu of armx. Hut those troops reachino. Planes and tanks were furnished by both France and Great Britain. Transportation.was a lieiculean task that taxed tlie ability aiul stren<rth of America aiul the j)atien(e of tlie Allies to the utmost. but. The artillery used by the Army was acquired in laroje part fiom the French. wai-ehouses. The problem was the more difficult because there was no previous experience to guide those dealing with a task of such magnitude.

with the full sup- port of the War Department. one of his ablest officers. and clearing the ports. This required a large number of trained officers using a connnon system under uniform methods. of troops overseas The movement culty Jiiid accomplished witli less diffi- confusion than the shipment of carofo. train. sliips. Actually they sought replacements to bolster the sagging General Pershing. was not so obstinate in his view. that he clung to at the cost of Allied defeat. and an administrative The general staff was divided into sections which varied in number depending u])on the size of the connnand. a general staff. Pershing sought and obtained an area near Lorraine in March Avhere his forces could concentrate. thouorh partly the result of unclarified command and the low morale amontr service troops. opposed the demands on the grounds that integration would destroy confidence and national pride. General Pershinof reorganized the Services of Supply and assiofned Maj. for he offered the unrestricted use of his troops in the crisis created by the German breakthrough Instead of allowing his troops to be parceled out. By firm action and intelligent planning. lack of vision. Poor plannino. and eventually fight. Shortly after the first contin- gent of American troops arrived in France. became so bad in the Ignited States that the Government In France the finally had to take over and operate the railroads. and prevent the how- training of his higher officers in command and staff responsibilities. confusion. thereby saving the American Expeditionary Forces from the complete sui)ply breakdown that threatened. divisions. staff's. in the volume of supplies. For Pershing's headquar- 342 . Harbord succeeded in clarifyins: command responsibility. It also used British vessels. interned "vvas German and some ships seized from the Dutch. Staff Training in the AEF. The staff had three main stafi'. restoring morale. After studying British and French Pershing adopted an organization largely patterned after that of the French. The commander of the it AEF 1918. Harbord. The size and complexity of the AEF convinced General Pershing that success in battle would be impossible without efficient staff work. to this command. and inadequate control over rail shipments resulted in the on both sides of the Atlantic as the load increased.. the Allies began to exert pressure to have them fed into their armies ostensibly for training purposes. two main characteristics in a successful fighting force. James G. frluttin^ of the ports Tlie situation Utilization of American Troops. Gen. strength of their battalions. was mainly attributable to the lack of an expansible oroanization for handlino. ever.ardized car<ro liners. the tremendous increase Realizing: the importance of the problem. but it speeded up rapidly during the spring and summer of 1918. a technical staff. The buildup was slow at first.

Germans Renew the Offensive. This artillery prep- aration was followed by an immediate infantry assault in which battle groups. fired pointblank at definite targets such as machine gun and pilUm. Administration. In addition to surprise. sion lieadquarters the three. The attack then entered a second phase marked by a rapid advance without regard to flank security. Accomai'tillery panying guns nests. In corps and divi. hoping that a breakthrough there avouIcI drive a wedge between the French and the British and that a British defeat would cause the French to lose heart and agree to peace.ves — a tactical use of horse-drawn 343 . Knemy positions that had not been wiped out were bypassed and left for succeeding units to mop up. advanced closely beliind a rolling l)arrage that moved forward at a In the first ])redetermine(l rate varying according to the terrain. Coordination (sup])ly reph\cements) and G-5. Intelli<rence: (i-. the Germans banked heavily on the effectiveness of the new tactics they had developed to penetrate strongly entrenched positions. assault troops infiltrated and isolated known centers of resistance within range of their artillery. troops ever assembled in the field up to that time. Operations. To enable the infantry to cope with local resistance that small arms fire could not overcome.ters (GITQ) and army headquarters there were five sections: G-1. (t-2. G-4. S. light artillery was attached to assault battalions. Training. The result was that uniformity soon supplanted variety in staff organization and operations."). Gerinon tactics. By the end of 1917 German hopes of winning the war through unrestricted submarine warBut there still was time for the Germans to strike blow in the west before the full strength of American arms could be brought to bear. had proved highly successful at Caporetto in Italy and a decisive fare were fading. and Germany decided to resume the offensive. Many troops were available as a result of the collapse of Russia. Field Marshal Erich von Ludendorff. tanks. To train staff officers Pershin*. The Hutier tactics. It made <reneral staff down possible the skillful management of the largest force of IT.: set up a staff college near Ghaumont and directed that only graduates of the school would be assigned to vacancies in staff positions. intensive artillery shelling of previously spotted positions them without destroying surprise. jihase of the attack. A chief number of «reneral of staff was responsible staff sections foi- was limited to the coordination of the quarters and the technical and administrative staffs at all headto and includin<r the division. selected the Somme area for the attack. armed mostly with macliine guns and automatic rifles. named after the German general who developed and first applied them in the siege of Riga. The German tactics called for a short. now virtually in command of the (rerman Army. Plans. against the British at to neutralize Cambrai in 1017.

the Germans were too short of time and reserves and too limited in equipment to indoctrinate all their divisions in the new methods. Fortunately for the Allies.100 guns and inflicting about 200. tactics put a premium on courage. Their lines were pierced. Allied reserves moved rapidly into the threat- and succeeded in plugging the gap. But strategically the offensive was not successful. For their gains the Germans had paid a high price in human life. By 26 March Amiens. General Pershing and others had long advocated acceptance of the basic military principle of unity of command. Only troops intensively trained as battle grou})s could carry them out successfully. particularly in the shock divisions whose Equally harmful to Gennan trained men could least be spared. Gen. Past experience in coalition warfare had indicated that the reconciliaened area by rail 344 . Leading units had succeeded in breaking through the Allied positions and had advanced 40 miles in 8 days.lieretofore considered suicidal in trench warfare. Live ammunition was used in training to accustom the troops to follow closely behind a rolling barrage. On 21 March the first blow fell with shattering force on the British. and lateral communications between the Allies were not disrupted. By 5 April the offensive was definitely over. ordered elaborate security measures and even chose his army commanders from among those who had previously won laurels in surprise attacks. physical stamina. By the end of the month the German drive had lost its momentum. and to put them through an intensive course of instruction. initi- and coordination. chances of ultimate victory was the unity of Allied command achieved as a result of the crisis on the Somme. In the crisis Ludendorff hurled 20 fresh divisions into the battle. The Somms offensive. Ludendorff. taking 70.000 prisoners and 1. to withdraw them from the line. was not destroyed. and for a time it looked as though the German advance might develop into a pursuit. On 27 March a gap was created between the French and British armies. now exhausted and out of supplies. to exploit the situation. Among them was Lt. but German troops. a strategically located rail center. were unable . The British Army. Oskar von Hutier. assault divisions were pushed to the limit before being The new ative. This forced Ludendorff to select only the best divisions. continued cooperation between the French and British armies would be difficult if not impossible. was in serious danger (map 37) If it fell. but they were repulsed mainly because they were untrained in the Hutier tactics. Tactically the Germans had won a brilliant victory. relieved. although seriously battered. bogged down in mud and debris. lenity of command. As a result of thorough preparation. confidence and morale rose rapidly throughout the German Army. Amiens was not captured. To avoid loss of momentum.000 casualties. But more was needed. recognizing that no offensive could hope to succeed on the Western Front without surprise.

Henri P. thus putting the principle command to its first great test. The Supreme Commander. Petain which connnitted each to go to the assistance of the (. and. tive of the at stake. and methods was most difficnlt to World War 1 proved to be no exception. But connnand authority vested in a committee of political leaders proved to be no answer to the problem. the Germans failed to win a decision. north of the previous point of attack. The Lys offensive. of unity of He also appealed to Foch for help. A first step towards unity of command had been taken after the collapse of the Italian armies at Caporetto when a Supreme War (^ouncil. Gen. hurriedly convened at Doullens on 26 March 1918. As and before. refused to connnit his reserves to battle. responded with only a few units. composed of the achieve. An interAllied conference. the British commander in chief. The British held. Angry and aroused by what he considered inadequate support under the agreement. Haig immediately called for the a})pointment of a "determinea general who would fight" as supreme commander. qualified though it was by the proviso that each national commander could appeal a decision of the Supreme Gonnnander to his home government in case he believed the vital interests of his country jH'ime ministers of Great Britain. proved to be sound. Krich Ludendortf clung to his basic plan to destroy the British Army before dealing with the French and the Americans. This time he chose to strike in the Lys area in Flanders. Despite the indecisive battle on the Sonnne. The P^rench connnander. This had been demonstrated when the council failed in its attempt to create a general reserve of 80 divisions because Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. The arrangement had hardly been made when the Germans struck on the Sonmie.tion of national interests. and Italy and a representaUnited States. gave Marshal Ferdinand Foch command over the British and French armies operating in the vicinity of Amiens. The weakness in the (Jerman Army not heretofore 345 . Expressing himself as able to "deal with a man but not a committee". At a later conference Foch's authority was made permanent and extended to include all the Allied forces. the Allies had unitj' of conmiand. refused to contribute his quota of 6 divisions. convinced that tlie British could hold and determined to regain the His decision initiative. France. urging his troops to fight to the end. they succeeded initially in overrunning British positions inflicting heavy damage. as on the Somme. Haig called on Petain for support. For the first time in the war. Again their tactical pei'formance was excellent. On 9 April the Germans again applied their new tactics. So desperate was the situation that Haig issued a "backs to the wall'" order. fearing the next blow would fall on his own army. was orj.ther in case of need. Facing defeat. J. battle also betrayed a though not equal to that in the previous otl'ensive. traditions. Haig instead made an agreement with Gen. B.anized to give over-all direction to the Allied military effort.

which Petain had urged upon shown was the exceedingly best way to counteract the Hutier tactics. By 29 May the Germans reached Chateau Thierry. The Ahne ojfenmve. but intensive shelling of Allied The bombardment was the more the effective because much of the defending force had been deployed first day advancing 13 miles and taking most of the bridges across the Aisne before the French could destroy them. the 2d Division. cross the Marne. an attack on such a strong position dangerous. The Germans therefore prepared their attack with even greater secrecy than before. a dominant ridge east of the Aisne River. What he had conceived as a diversionary attack to prevent the French from supporting the British. and a long-range as the troops overran British food bombardment of Paris. tain surprise. The long blockade was' beginning to affect even the iron-disciplined Germany Army. By 29 April. In a three-day battle beginning 1 June every German effort to establish a bridgehead was repulsed. and the situation looked very dark indeed for the Allies. There.discernible. Ludendorff planned to renew the To atbattle in Flanders as soon as he had regrouped his forces. discipline collapsed to a serious degree dumps and took precious time out during a critical phase of the battle to loot. he decided on a diversionary attack on the Chemin des Dames. So confident was the local commander in the artillery natural strength of his area that he failed to organize a defense in depth. as the Chemin des Dames was demanded complete surprise. He responded with two divisions. was committed to action along the Chateau Thierry-Paris road. Chateau Thierry. AVest of Chateau Thierry. he now decided to turn into a major offensive. arriving just as the Germans prepared to. The 3d Division was rushed to the scene by rail and motor. 346 . He rushed reserves forward and ordered the advance to continue in the hope that the momentum of the attack would enable the Germans to establish bridgeheads across the Marne for future use should he decide on a drive toward Paris. This unexpected success led Ludendorff to change his plans. Still hoping to defeat the British and roll them back to the channel ports. For the first time. In the crisis the French commander appealed to Pershing for help. By the end of the Germans had reached all their objectives. On 27 May the assault began following a short lines. less than 40 miles from Paris. having committed 46 divisions to action. air battles. For a few weeks quiet reigned on the Western Front punctuated only by local attacks. The position had become a quiet sector to which battle-weary Allied divisions were sent to recuperate. including a brigade of marines. too. Its success him and which experience had Even so. General Ludendorff called off the offensive. the Germans were checked in a series of bitterly fought local actions which culminated in an well forward by the local commander.

Ludendorff still retained the initiative and Moyen-Montdidier. launched its attack. American troops undertook their first offensive. German morale decline. role. Cantigny The First American Offensive. held to his basic plan— the defeat of the British in Flanders. this time in the MoyenMontdidier area. On high ground to the front lay the village of Gantigny. proved the ability of the American soloffensively and bolstered sagging Allied morale. supported by American and French artillery and P'rench tanks and flame throwers. he hoped to widen the base of the Marne salient and to tie down Allied reserves by threatening On 9 June he struck with two armies.American attack that recaptured Belleaii AVood and the villages of Houresches and Vaux. Success was immediate and complete. because this time the element of sui'prise was absent and French defenses were organized in dei)th. On 28 May. As a result of their first three offensives of 1918. The laM German offensive. This was considered the hottest spot in the line. a country never self-sufticient in raw mateParis. its western side supplied mainly by an exposed railroad that ran close to the Ludendorti' held Allied lines and throu<jh the town of Soissons. lials and other essentials. 50497S grew longer and news from the front offered little hope. the 1st Division. salient was vulnerable. He decided to begin with a diversionary attack. in another sector. disTaking advantage of the opportunity to further under- O— 59 23 347 . Gains were slight and costs heavy. but the action changed (jernian opinion on the combat ert'ectiveness of American troops from one of open skepticism to respect. Following the German attack on the Somme the 1st Division was assigned an active sector west of the farthest point of — German advance. The price paid at Helleau Wood was liiiih. German local affair. Meanwhile. This engagement. With the failure to achieve a decisive victory in the offensives launched with such high expectations. but held against strong though only a dier to fight counterattacks. The decision to stay led later to a counter-oU'ensive in Avhich American forces played a leading. Though checked. But it left them in a dangerous salient. By attacking there. The blockade was choking the economic life out of Germany. as the Germans broke through on the Aisne. on to this weak position because of the adverse effect a withdrawal would have on (lerman morale. which afforded the Gerlines and concealed their own activicapture would reverse the situation and give a much-needed boost to Allied morale. German morale suffered a sharp decline. the otfensive on the Aisne was a tactical success for the (Jermans. While victory was in sight. but. as the casualty content arose.'^. Cantigny was not only taken mans good observation of Allied Its ties. the Germans had driven three Although the supply line of each salients into the Allied defenses. the German people sufi'ered privations without lists much complaint.

348 . The attack on Rheims failed to achieve surprise. Artillery was also deployed in depth so that it could support both the outpost and the main line. while reserves were held a in readiness to counterattack in case of a breakthrough. Spearheading the attack was the French was the Marne salient.mine German morale the Allies redoubled their propaganda activity by showering the German front lines and cities with leaflets from the air. for the balance in manpower w^as shifting rapidly to the Allies as American troops arrived by the hundreds of thousands monthly permitting Foch to create The Germans the strategic reserve needed to assume the oft'ensive. to take place 10 days later and much larger in concept. Between the two lines fortified positions had been established to break up the attack. The area chosen for the Allied offen- atta^'k along its enwith the main blow directed at the northwest base of the salient near Soissons. It convinced Foch that the time for a counterstroke had come at last. usually well-kept secrets in the past. was a renewed attack on the British Army in Flanders. parwinning high praise for their conduct. S. But Ludendorff continued to reject all demands for peace negotiations in the hope that one more offensive would bring victory. would protect the supply of the Marne salient and draw in Allied reserves. if successful. the enemy was himself surprised w^hen he launched his offensive on 15 July and w-as stopped far short 3d and the 42d.500 yards behind an outpost line. the force actually was four-fifths American. Since U. divisions were numerically stronger. lines. In anticipation of an attack the Allies were deployed in depth with main line of resistance about 2. leaked out of Berlin or were spotted from the air. The second. one United States division moving at night over muddy roads and then into jump-off position at double time. German troops had come to regard as "a Peace Offensive". The first was to pinch off Rheims which. although planned only as a diversion. As events turned out the second was never undertaken. which. This information enabled Foch to rearrange his reserves and take other defensive measures before the Germans struck. As a result of these defensive preparations. The failure of this offensive. 1st and 2d Divisions and the French 1st Moroccan Division. Troop concentrations were carried out with the utmost secrecy some distance behind the Only at the last moment were assault units rushed forward. of his objective. Assault units were to tire front XX Corps composed of the U. while detailed plans were learned from captured prisoners. divisions. had a demoralizing effect on them. S. the Two American ticipated in the battle The Aisne-Marne sive Offensive. planned two attacks. General preparations. To retain the initiative he had to act soon.

after a series of conferences. ordered a gradual withdrawal from the salient. thus assuring the fall of that stronghold and the ultimate success of the battle. the Germans were in strong positions behind the Aisne and Vesle Rivers. Pershing pressed the issue again. and the initial assault was so powerful that it (juickly overran the German front lines and forward artillery positions. Realizing his position had become untenable. In order to save supplies and equipment. A Separate American Army. improve lateral communicashorten the line. Marne was three at its height. Mihiel salient who had requested it. Elsewhere along the front Allied forces. where they were badly needed. and so dimmed German aspirations for victory that even Ludendorff thereafter no longer hoped for more than a stalemate. Surprise was complete. heavily reinforced with American divisions. Three remained under French comnuind along the Vesle. the Germans prepared successive defensive positions and stubbornly and skillfully defended them. but it had lapsed in the crisis produced by the German offensives. He proposed to reduce the main German salients in order to tions between Allied sectors. gave the Allies important rail communications. First Army and most assigned it a sector in the St. Most important of all. The fiiuil decision called for a joint British-French operation under Haig's direction. and set the stage for a general offensive. the only question remaining was who would deal with the Amiens salient. Crown Prince Wilhelm. This had been the original plan. with the salient evacuated. He assigned the reduction of the St. Attempts on the part of the V. the initiative passed to the Allies. By 0800 Allied troops had advanced three miles and captured the high gi-ound south of Soissons. It eliminated the German threat to Paris. S. By 3 August. made uniform progress. upset Ludendorif's cherished plan to attack the British again in Flanders. to Pershing. Since joint effort was gradually reducing the Marne salient at the time. Allied Plans. demonstrated beyond further doubt the effectiveness of American trooi)s on the oU'ensive. S. As the danger passed. The conduct of American troops in the Aisne-Marne offensive strengthened Pershing's case for an in- dependent American army and a separate sector on the Western Front. agi'eed to the organization of the V. 349 . Foch was sympathetic and. While the battle to Foch called flatten the German first salient on the a conference of his comnumders to plan future Allied operations. Within a short time of the American divisions then in France were assembled there. 4th and 32d Divisions to drive them from these positions failed and the offensive was over. The battle had numerous and far-reaching results. who commanded the German armies in the area.The attack was launched early in the morning of 18 July behind a heavy barrage. firmly established Allied unity of command. Mihiel area.

To this Foch reluctantly agreed. Borrowing needed units and equipment from the French. j^roposed to reduce the size of the St. Its reduction had been assigned to the American army. it "Black Day" for the German Army. The Amiens contributed to the success of the engagement. On 8 August the British struck with 10 divisions in the line: 45 minutes later. them. To exploit the recent successes was.The Amiens Offensive. Mihiel operation so that the 350 American army could . The mass of British infantry. realizing that he was up against a well-integrated defense system which could be broken only after long and heavy artillery preparation. on schedule. Foch urged Haig to continue the attack. although it finally succeded in holding. nevertheless hit Army to from the southwest. By the end of August he had forced the Germans back to the original positions from which they had started their offensive. and tanks. St. The new drive opened on 21 August but encountered a stubborn defense in depth and counterattacks which soon brought it to a halt. But since Haig had committed only part of his force. The offensive was about to be launched when Foch. Mihiel operation Pershing had planned and to disperse excess American units among the French and British armies. aircraft. had penetrated German defenses to the extent of nine miles. Two days later he agreed to a new plan that left his force intact but limited the objective of the St. he made up some deficiencies. he w^as still able to apply pressure elsewhere along his line. while not as spectacular. anxious to take advantage of the successes around Amiens before the Germans recovered. sound. The French advance. he planned no artillery preparation and deliberately delayed the attack of the French Army. The elimination of the Amiens salient left only one hands of the enemy. but he now obstinately refused to permit his army to fight except as an independent force. was a salient had disappeared. including shortages in artillery. Pershing lost no time in preparing for the attack. An hour later advance elements. of course. forcing a general withdrawal to lines held by the Germans in 1915. the French moved in with 8 divisions.600 prisoners and 200 guns in the first two hours. advancing with the tanks behind a rolling barrage. including cavalry. He faced numerous problems. Marshal Haifr decided on a simple converging attack directed at the center of the salient with the British Fourth Army attacking from the northwest while the French First Haig had nearly 600 tanks and chose In order to avoid betraying the time of the attack. and Pershsalient still in the major ing fully appreciated that. recommended an attack farther north between Amiens and Miraumont. make full use of As Ludendorif said. until the British advance was well under way. which was equipped with only a few tanks. shattered the German lines capturing 1. but the British commander. Eager to exploit the advantage gained. Mihiel.

the American attack opened. delivering its main blow fairly close to the base of the triangle. it was a mission which. gave way.) Both forces for the St. Supported by 8. However. map 38. The advance might have gone farther. mostly Hriti. while two corps attacked the southern face. It now called for a simultaneous attack on the two sides of the triangular-shaped salient. Mihiel offensive enemy were to meet approximately in the center of the salient pinching off all forces caught in its nose. and 267 French light tanks. and by the end of the first day the Americans had reached all their objectives. with their main blow falling half way between the l)ase and apex.000 guns. (See inset. A French corps was to make a secondary attack against the nose and exploit whatever success the two main attacks achieved. One American corps was to attack the western face. but Pershing called a halt because of the coming MeuseArgonne offensive. This operation elimi351 . a tough assigmnent never before attempted on the Western Front by a single army.sh and P'rench. The original plan was quickly modified. Tlie plan comniitted Pershintr and his staff' to the task of preparing and launching two offensives within 28 days in areas 40 miles apart. who had been ])reparing to evacuate the salient. Everywhere the Germans.Rciinult T(inkii f<ill(ii<<(l hfi hifmitrii hnnkinf/ thronfih incuts.r)00 planes. hiirhcd icirc entuuijh' undertake a major offensive between the Meuse River and the Argonne Forest about 10 days later. if successful. largely French. It was the first major "World War I victory won by the American Army under its own command. would establish the reputation of the American army. l.

the other by the American army with Aulnoye and Mezieres as their respective objectives.000 Americans moved in. while that of the Germans was showing increasing signs of decline. the French armies were to exert pressure all along their line and protect the flanks of both British and American armies while a newly created Belgian-French-British army group in the north. Foch planned an offensive that would yield two key railroad junctions that tied in enemy lateral rail communications with those from Germany. on units being prepared for an all-out effort in 1919. Leaders in the British Government grumbled but finally agreed. Only a rapid and orderly evacuation. had to scrape the bottom of their manpower barrel and draw St. railroads. could prevent German defeat. But retreat would mean the abandonment of vast stores of supplies and equipment accumulated since 1914. S. drove toward Ghent. All told about 820. and deprived the Germans of excellent defensive positions covering the approaches to the fortress of Metz and the coal mines of Briey. The Meuse-Argonne S. As a logistical operation it George C. To further the success of the two main blows. and their morale was high as the result of the victories in the Aisne-Marne and Amiens areas. Terrain features and objectives led him to staff officer. Plans for a General Offensive. was a brilliant success for which a young 352 . The date set for the commencement of the offensive was the last week in September. Col. Army was busy . divisions were engaged in the St. Mihiel salient to accomplish. one by the British. the area as 400.000 French moving out of Offensive. improved xVllied lateral communications. Even before the reduction of the Foch had come to believe that a general oifensive aimed at driving the enemy across the borders was possible before winter slowed down operations. This barely allowed time for preparations. To prevent an orderly German withdrawal. won well-deserved acclaim. Two powerful converging attacks were to be made. 220. particularly for the Americans who still had the reductions of the St. Pershing had to plan a frontal attack powerful enough to effect a breakthrough. First Preparations. commanded by King Albert of Belgium. weakened in reserves by the earlier German offensive. weeks the U. Mihiel salient. Since the Germans had no exposed flanks.000 troops with tlieir equipment were involved. Mihiel battle at the time and because all movements had to be made at night in order to avoid observation by the enemy. the British. For the next few planning operations and switching troops in and out of the concentration area between Verdun and the Argonne Forest (map 38) The task was complicated by the fact that many U.nated the danger to the rear of the Allied strongholds of Nancy and Verdun. and bridges. To mount their operations. combined with systematic destruction of roads. The Allies now had unquestioned superiority in men and equipment. Marshall.

the enemy excellent observation on the west was the Arponne Forest. Meusc-Arffoniic offensive. and Barricourt. . In the center a ridge running lii^di. which afforded defen. MORNING 12 Sep 1918 Front LINE. valley of the Aire to the west.ST MIHIEL OFFENSIVE FRO»ii LINE. Each corps was Three to attack with two divisions in the assanlt and one in reserve. north and south dominated the valley of the Meuse to the east and the On the ridge were tlie heavily forti- Ked positions of Montfaucon. a zone ron^hly 20 miles in width. Cunel. and heavily wooded. main attack between the Meuse River and the western ed<re of tlie Ar^onne Forest. He massed three corps in the area disposed in line. which American 353 . rugged. The country through which the attack was to be made favored the On the east were the heights of the Meuse. 16 Sep I9I8 Map decide to nuike liis J8.se. other divisions wej-e held as an army reserve available for nse where needed as the battle developed.

bornly contested every defensible position. the inexperience of many of his newly arrived divisions. and the stage was set for a renewal of the attack. Gains were limited but significant because the gruelling struggle forced the enemy to draw battle. make any appreciable built an elaborate Behind the entire front the Germans had defense system orfjanized in depth. he planned to continue the attack until it penetrated the enemy defenses and then to join with the advancing French at Granpre. In the next few days the first two defense lines were captured. the Germans had converted villages. Tank support proved ineffective. woods. More important was the inexperience of the divisions that were receiving their first taste of by veteran outfits as soon as a lull an easy task considering the condition of the roads serving the front lines. William Mitchell made the large-scale raid upsetting 354 enemy preparations for a counterattack. and the nature of the terrain. Pershing hoped the weight of would carry his army through the first three lines without loss of momentum and enable him to open up German flanks to attack and bring about that state of open warfare for which his army was trained. but the advance ground to a halt before the enemy's third line. S. were numerous. Three had to be replaced in the battle permitted. The plan was simple enough. but. The reasons for the collapse of the initial assault. Strong as this defense system was.troops would have to capture before they could jjroffress. it was accomplished by 1 October. and other natural obstacles between the lines into strong points to serve as centers of resistance to break up an attack. because of the large force involved. Between 4 October and the end of the month the I^. In the ail- enemy introduced the "battle squadron" to strafe front-line first troops. The Firf<t phn^e.ne. upsetting Perishing's hope for a quick breakthrough. and Col. and advance northward to cut the strategic Sedan-Mezieres railroad. In case quick success did not attend his first effort. First Army slowly drove its way through the third (jerman (Casualties mounted as the enemy threw in reserves and stubline. Nevertheless. The assault divisions promptly took the forward positions and by the end of the first day had made excellent progress everywhere except in two places. Montfaucon and the Argonne Forest. cross the Meuse. not units from other parts of the front and commit them the to battle. At 0580 the infantry jumped off. bombing During this . and supply broke down because of congestion and poor roads. In addition. It contained three completed main lines and a partially completed fourth farther to the rear on ground of great natural strength. hills. Early in the morning of 26 September the offensive began with an artillery preparation lasting about three hours. other than stubborn enemy resistance. Pershing expected coordination to be the attack difficult. Second pha. battle now entered its second phase.

denying the Germans the use of the Sedan -Mezieres railroad. Mcii. Sedan could probably have to capture the city been taken by the First Ai-niy shortly thereafter had not Foch altered its lef( boundary to permit the Fiench which had witnessed the 1S70. S. Maj. 355 . Bulhird. Robert L. cei'tain a displayed American units attenii)ting to enter Sedan bad exami)le of initiative and confused the situation line of by moving across the next planned a advance of other friendly in units. Having finally penetrated the third main enemy line.sc-Ari/oniic Offciisirc. . Americans were in a position to reap the harvest of success. Second Army under (he connnand of Maj. roads were built and repaired. By 7 November the heights l)efore Sedan were seized. Three days later units of III Corps crossed the river and headed toward Montmedy. The Germans in the meantime had so strengthened their fourth line that it. Gen. Hunter Liggett was a})pointed to command the First Army and General Pershing then assumed command of the army group. The infantry withdraw in a was highly successful V Corps in the center adGermans to vanced six miles in tlie first day. forcing the hurry to save their units west of the Meuse. Gen.Iiifdiitrii ill Action. had to be penetrated before open warfare was possible. ])eri()(l tlie Ai-fionne Forest was cleared and the attack was extended east of the Meuse Kiver. By mid-October enough divisions were in action to necessitate the organization of the U. Third phaxe. first. and the supply system was improved. most of the Allied units serving with the AEF were released and withdrawn. too. (•aj)itulati()n of the Freiirli Ai'uiy to the Prussians in Kven so. On 1 November the atthe tack reopened with assault that followed tlie usual artillery preparation. Fresh outfits replaced exhausted divisions. Pershing coordinated attack the dii-ection of Montmedy.

the 27th and the 30th. fort to hold. but the military results were decisive. companies.000 oifensive before it ended. Almost a million and a quarter American troops were engaged in the The price paid was heavy. the 37th and 91st. and a month later took Aulnoye. saw action. All along the Western Front success was so gratifying that a major operation against Metz seemed possible before the end Plans for the attack to Ix'gin on 15 November were well of the year. During the last 10 days of this operation two American divisions. In a desperate efcasualties. the other strategic rail junction upon which German supply depended. The French. vital Sedan-Mezieres area with its strategic lines of communications. S. whose mission was to apply pressure in the center between the American and British zones. The dogged persistence of the American platoons. The Imperial Government reacted immediately by notifying President Wilson of its willingness to accept terms based on his earlier to hold the Allied attacks. King Albert's army renewed the attack regaining the entire coast of Belgium before the armistice. the 2d and 36th. When it collapsed. the prospect of complete defeat forced the mediate armistice. some 120. The Meuse-Argonne offensive was one of the greatest and most The prize was the decisive battles ever fought by the U. and battalions led by young connnanders who not many months before had been college students or young business and professional men met and defeated the best enemy troops and broke the so-called "Hindenburg Line". In Flanders King Albert's Belgian-British-French army pushed ahead until it slid to a temporary halt in Belgian mud. Wilson could not respond at once. Germany Surrenders. announced "Fourteen 356 Points'*. did made rapid progress as the German lines In this offensive two American divisions. which participated in some of the bloodiest fighting of the war.Troops were moving into position for this attack when the armistice put an end to further hostilities. the loss of which would mean the collapse of the entire German front. end he failed. Army. this so well that their armies fell back. As soon as ground conditions improved. . The successes gained by the AEF in the Meuse-Argonne oHensive were matched by the Allies on other sectors of the front. under way when the armistice came. participated. In their offensive they had the use of two American divisions. Disheartened by the inability of his armies Ludendorff on 2 October informed his government that Germany could not win and advised it to seek peace. By o October the British had penetrated the true "Hindenburg Line". German militaiy leaders to advise an im- Other Allied Offensives. Ludendorff was forced to ]:)our liis rapidly diminishing reserves into the battle thereby making it ])ossible for Allied arms to In the register spectacular gains elsewhere on the "Western Front.

(5) the demilitarization of a six-mile strip on the east bank. To keep them at fighting strength required a continuous flow of replacements from the rear based on anticipated losses. was proclaimed and the Kaiser fled to Holland. breaking up of some existing units to meet That practice seriously lowered the morale of all the units raided and disru])ted the training of concerned. Within a few days several other cities in northern Germany fell to the mutineers. agreement was reached on an armistice which took effect at 1100 on 11 November. who set up soldiers and sailors committees reminiscent of the events in Russia 18 months before. At the same time the Allies continued to advance all along the Western Front. occupy the west bank of the Rhine and the President AVilson at first was reluctant to occupy any territory.was not sure that all the Allies were willing to negotiate with the Imperial Government. The victories in the gruelling battles in which American troops participated during the sunnner and fall of 1918 were costly. and trucks. and (8) the internment of the German fleet in neutral or Allied ports. Casualties ran high. and Cologne as bridgeheads: (7) the surrender of all subnuirines.000 men. In France the results were particularly harmful. Replacements. (8) the immediate return of Allied prisoners of war: (4) the evacuation of the west bank of the Rhine. rolling stock. Unable to rely on an 357 . for he Early in the crisis Ludendortf was relieved. the fighting continued with disastrous results for the Germans. Meanwhile. It provided for: (1) the withdrawal of the German armies from occupied territory within two weeks. A last desperate plan of the German Navy to break out and challenge the British Grand Fleet failed because the German sailors mutinied and seized the port of Kiel. (2) the surrender of most of Germany's artillery. After several days of negotiation. Originally the AVar Department had planned to receive and train recruits in depot brigades established in the 16 cantonments that had been This system built in the T'nited States for National Army divisions. These military and naval terms were sup])lemented by equally severe economic and political provisions. Allied forces in to moved three designated bridgeheads. (6) the relinquishment to the Allies of Mainz. An offensive in Italy in late October forced the Germans to reinforce that tottering front. A German German republic emissaries crossed the lines to discuss terms with Allied representatives in a rail- road car near Compiegne. machine guns. Tliis led the War Department to direct the shortages in others. many divisions losing over 5. Coblenz. but under urging he agreed to permit the American army to take over the area around Coblenz. broke down within a short time because the depot brigades had to devote almost all their time to receiving draftees. planes.

trained. the in war ended before shortages crisis. Had the system been introduced sooner it might have worked. as General Pershing said. and what began as a local war between an empire and a troublesome Balkan neighbor developed almost overnight into a conflict that engulfed most of the Continent.fideqiiate flow of replacements. The U. The Central Powers. efficiency in positions for which they were not trained. The effect on morale and efficiency was serious. Men were fed into front-line units. and political forces arose out of the wreckage and confusion to confound the period that followed. often without adequate training for combat. Whatever spirit and pride they may have had in their former outfits was destroyed when they were assigned to other units to serve under different officers and As a result. New and powerful social. The shots fired by a Serbian fanatic in a little Bosnian town precipitated a great war which ended with Allied victory but with all western Europe greatly weakened. but. eliminate Russia. won many initial successes mainly because to overrun they were better organized. Complaints from the field finally forced the the replacement problem. replacements created a disastrous Summary. For the European first time since the establishment of the Nation the United its States departed from affairs. "the change came too late to be of material benefit". accumulated wealth. retain the Dardanelles. They managed the Balkans. traditional policy of noninvolvement in Resources. declined and losses in battle increased needlessly. although confronted with a war on two fronts. and occupy as an active much south. equipped and led. industry. Before it ended few nations in the world were spared the horrors of war and none escaped its effect. The system of alliances in which the powers had become enmeshed proved unequal to the task of maintaining peace. economic. but as time went on the power of American arms began to tell. In the end three great empires collapsed and several new states were born. elimi358 . of France and Belgium in the west and part of Italy in the The entrance of the Ignited States into the war belligerent did not restore the balance immediately. and manpower were harnessed in a war effort as never before in history. Persliino: was forced to break up whole divisions and to skeletonize many units en^a^ed in essential services in rear areas to make up his battle losses. Fortunately for the combat divisions. S. and because they had the advantage of interior lines. Navy joined with the British Navy in cutting losses. War Department to face the realities of In April 1918 replacement training centers opened in the United States for the sole purpose of training as replacements to men make up estimated losses and to fill vacancies in the services.

gruelling battle which convinced the ejiemy that further resistance was useless. i' : ( (5) replacements? 5. QUESTIONS 1. 359 . Conscription was inti'oduced and handled inexpensively and justly. and in transI . mobilization was handled with speed and without serious impairment of the Army's efficiency or disruption of the Nation's economic life. T^nprepared though the Army was when the war broke out. gave For the first time since the Civil mimbers of men were mobilized. Th<' Orhjiiis of tlw World Wur. Hoston. 2 ilarbord. James 1!):)1. once there. trained. it grew and learned rapidly. 4. it itself. lO. E. airplane production. . "What steps were taken to solve them ( troops. and committed to battle. . 1980. Army to P^urope. AVhat were Pershing's views on 1 ) the use of American i'2) unity of command. morale was kept at a high level both in the Army and on the home front: and finally. the complexities of trench warfare were mastered without sacrifice of fundamental operational concepts. officers were selected on the basis of merit and (lualitications. Washington. (4) Ai'my organization. P^xplain the (xerman offensives of lUlS and the role of United States forces in Foch's counterotlensive. and leplacements. but many things were done well. Reading List Edmonds. Many costly mistakes were made. 11)86.iiatiiifj tlie stran<rleliold j)ortin<r menace of unrestricted submarine warfare. imposinjx a on the economic life of the Central Powers. i-^) oj)en warfare. equipped. Arm. The I". vols. S. was slow an impressive account of ^^'ar vast gettinjr into action but. Fay. By the summer of IDIS enough men and supplies had arrived at the "Western Front to turn the tide of battle in favor of the Allies. AVhat reasoning led the Germans to reintroduce unrestricted submarine warfare ^. Explain Army logistical problems in the I'nited States and in France. New York. Discuss two strategic blunders the a possible victory. Thr A iiic r'lcnii I nfdntri/ in Txifth'. Germans made which cost them 2. put into uniform.lames Infanti-y School. the S. In the Meuse-Argonne oti'ensive American troops fought the greatest battle in which the Army had been engaged u]) to that time. Army. London. They met and beat the best ti()oj)s in Europe in a dogged./ /// France. Sidney.'U.1 Short Ilisfoi!/ of WorhJ War I. (i. raised largely by conscription. particularly in the field of logistics.

John J. 2 vols. 360 . United States Military Academy. Mill is. 1935.March. 1932. 1950. York. The Nation at War. Garden City. 1931. West Point. Pershing. New A Short Military History of World War I. Boston. Peyton C. My experiences in the World War. The Road to War. Walter.

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