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American Involvement in WWI Use the Text to answer the following about the Battles of WWI that the United States was a part of Battle 3rd Battle of Ypres Cantigny Chateau-Thierry 2nd Battle of Marne St. Mihiel Meuse-Argonne Dates Location Why it is significant The Second Battle of the Marne was the last German offensive of the war. The Germans hoped to make a breakthrough before large numbers of American troops could arrive. The German were hoping for a breakthrough and their attack began on July 15th when 23 divisions of their First and Third Army attacked east of the Reims River. At the same time an additional 17 division from the German Seventh Army attacked to the west of the river. The attack by the First and Third Army’s were stopped on the first day. The attack to the west of the river was more successful. The Germans successfully established a bridgehead. The German advanced 4 miles on a front that was 12 miles wide. The British and the Americans rushed troops to stem the German advance. They were successful. By July 17 the advance was stopped. The Allies launched a counter offensive that included eight American divisions and 350 tanks. The offensive was launched on July 18th. By July 20th the Germans ordered a retreat to the lines that they had begun the offensive. The Battle Marne was a turning point in the war. Besides marking that last German offensive of the war, it marked the entry of American troops into the war. By all accounts despite their lack of experience they equipped themselves bravely in the battles. More importantly the arrival of fresh American troops unburdened by years of warfare strengthened all of the Allies giving the average soldier a feeling that the war might end. 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) July31- November 6, 1917 The Third Battle of Ypres - also known as Passchendaele - has shaped perceptions of the First World War on the Western Front. Fought between July and November 1917, both sides suffered heavy casualties and endured appalling conditions. The name Passchendaele has become synonymous with mud, blood and futility. In 1917, General Sir Douglas Haig planned a major offensive to break out of the Ypres salient, which the Allies had occupied since 1914. Haig's vision was for a war-winning breakthrough. He planned to capture the high ground around Ypres, as well as a key rail junction to the east, and then advance on the German-occupied ports of the Belgian coast - critical to the U-Boat campaign. The battle failed to achieve Haig's objectives. It lasted over 100 days. In that time, the Allies advanced about 5 miles for the loss of over 500,000 soldiers killed, wounded or missing. On May 28, 1918 the American 1st Division led an assault on the town of Cantigny, France, making it the first divisional attack by the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I. Prior to this attack, American soldiers had been at the front for operational training serving as part of experienced British and French units. The success of this attack proved that American forces had the training, tools and leadership necessary to be a major threat to the Germans. The AEF’s 1st Division had shown that American troops could perform effectively in larger coordinated operations with other Allied armies, and that large American units could defend against determined enemy attacks. Though relatively small, the successful attack on Cantigny added a spirit of self-confidence to American forces. The battle left the Allies feeling encouraged, and optimistic about the employment of further American divisions, corps, and armies. The efficiency of American preparation and execution of a difficult operation was a foreshadowing of the energy and ability they would display in the coming months. BATTLE OF CHATEAU-THIERRY IN WORLD WAR I The Battle of Château-Thierry was a significant battle of World War I along the Western Front, which was the line of trenches that stretch through Belgium and northern France on the western edge of Germany. One of the main reasons that the Battle of Château-Thierry was so significant was because it was the first major conflict that involved American forces in World War I. The Battle of Château-Thierry took place on May 31st, 1918 and was part of the larger Second Battle of the Marne, which was related to the German Spring Offensives of 1918. As such, a major component of the Battle of Château-Thierry, was Allied forces (French and American soldiers) defending their positions against German attacks. The Germans began their assault on the French line and overran the French 6th Army. As a result, The American Expeditionary Force (AEF) under the command of John J. Pershing circled around to assist the French and stop the German advance. More specifically, the Germans were able to push through the French defenses and made it to the Marne River, which was only about 50 miles from the French capital of Paris. As such, the American 3rd Division was mobilized to an important bridge on the Marne River near the town of Château-Thierry on May 31st in 1918 in aid of the French. The Germans attacked the bridge, as the American and French defenders replied with heavy machinegun fire. The fighting continued with artillery and sniper fire, which led to numerous casualties on both sides. The Allies were successful in preventing a German advance and were even able to carry out their own counter-attack. For example, on July 18th, 1918, French and American forces attacked German positions near Château-Thierry, which caused the Germans to retreat from the area. In all, the Battle of Château-Thierry was an important Allied victory and one of the first engagements for the newly formed American Expeditionary Force in World War I. During the battle, the Americans and French suffered a combined 1,900 casualties, while the Germans endured over 5,300. Battle of Saint-Mihiel The Battle of Saint-Mihiel occurred between September 12 and 15, 1918, in and around the town of Saint-Mihiel, France, nearly two hundred miles east of Paris. It became the only American led offensive in World War I. US General John J. Pershing pressured French General Ferdinand Foch to give American forces responsibility over this sector. Pershing wanted American troops to show their abilities; he did not want US forces to operate as components of the integrated Allied forces, under the command of seasoned French and British senior officers. He hoped the Saint-Mihiel operation would penetrate German defenses and capture the strategic city of Metz, near the German border. The battle resulted in an American victory, even if it did not reach Metz. Foch’s desire to begin what became the war’s final push, meant that the Allied leadership rerouted US forces for the final battle of the war. Captain George Marshall, responsible for logistics, managed an incredibly complex shift of men and material in just about a dozen days so US forces could start the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the US sector of the final battle, on September 26, 1918. The US Army Air Service played a critical role in the battle’s outcome, pivoting victory towards the Allies with its use of close air support and the denial of Central power air superiority. While Allied air assets included British, French, and Italian pilots and aircrewmen, forty percent of Allied airpower was American. Roughly 1,500 Allied aircraft made the Battle of Saint-Mihiel the largest air operation of the war. Allied leadership and strategy also played a significant role in shaping the battle’s outcome. Pershing employed a combined-arms approach to penetrate stiff German trenches, using mixed unit composition to further the American advance. US forces suffered 7,000 casualties of a force of 550,000 troops. Noteworthy American officers included, the aforementioned George C. Marshall, who led the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War II, as well as William "Billy" Mitchell, the father of American air power, and George Patton, the seasoned tank commander of World War II (1939-1945). US military officer candidates study the leadership of small field unit officers at Saint-Mihiel today. The Battle of Meuse-Argonne The Battle of Argonne Forest was part of what became known as the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the last battle of World War I . It was a massive attack along the whole line, with the immediate goal of reaching the railroad junction as Sedan. The US had over 1 million troops now available to fight. While the US troops were not battle tested, the introduction of over 1 million well armed troops into a battle that had exhausted armies for four years would prove decisive. Commanding US troops was General Pershing. Responsible for the logistics was Colonel George Marshall. The American offensive began on September 26th, 1918 North of Verdun. It began like all World War I battles with a massive artillery attack. The American forces had mixed results in the first stage of the battle that lasted until October 3rd. German resistance was strong, but the sheer numbers of the Americans slowly forced the German back. Meanwhile the French and British troops to the North were having similar success, slow but steady advances. By the end of the second stage of the battle which lasted from October 6th to 26th the American forces had advanced over 10 miles and cleared the Argonne Forest. In the final stage of the battle which lasted until the Armistice of November 11, 1918 American forces advanced on Metz, while French forces conquered the goal of the campaign Sedan. The Americans suffered 192,000 casualties in the battle including 26,277 killed. The French suffered 70,000 casualties, while the Germans had 126,000 casualties among them 56,000 prisoners.