American Troops in the Second Battle of the Marne

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Submitted By Whatagirl1
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The Second Battle of the Marne marked the turning of the tide in World War I. It began with the last German offensive of the conflict and was quickly followed by the first allied offensive victory of 1918 (In Viereck & In Maerker-Branden, 1929). Although US troops assumed mainly a support role in this action, the battle came to be known as the beginning of the end for Germany. 85,000 US troops participated, with 12,000 casualties, gaining the praise of not only their own officers, but the French and British commanders as well. In the Second Battle of Marne with 30,000 killed and wounded, the United States started suffering casualties on the enormous scale usually associated with the battles of the Great War (Coffman, 1968). In late May, the German high command had ordered a major offensive from the Chemin des Dames northeast of Paris towards the River Marne threatening both Paris and the Paris - Verdun rail link (Dupuy, 1956). The 2nd and 3rd divisions of the AEF helped defend along the Marne on either side of the river town of Chateau Thierry. What resulted was a rounded bulge in western front thirty miles wide at the base, extending south about 25 miles to its apex right at Chateau Thierry (In Viereck & In Maerker-Branden, 1929). With American encouragement, a plan evolved to eliminate this salient with a two pronged assault from the west and south. In July, when it became clear that the Germans would renew their assault in the area, a decision was made to absorb the assault, let the enemy tire themselves, and then counterattack soon afterwards. At midnight, July 15 the artillery crashed and the last German push of the war started. As predicted, it was a drive to get across the Marne east of Chateau-Thierry...from Chateau-Thierry east were the Third American Division...where they'd been ever since their machine gunners had come charging up the riverbank six…...

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