Discuss the major American military operations, battles, campaigns, and leaders involved with
World War I from May 1918 to the conclusion of the war on November 11, 1918.
How successful was the American Army during this time period?
The Allied Aisne-Marne counteroffensive started with the AEF making its first appearance
with major strength. Eight American divisions launched several attacks, driving the Germans
to defensive holds (Millett & Maslowski, 1994, p. 371).
The St. Mihiel offensive had mixed results. They were able to regain ground lost. However,
they did not capture as many Germans as was expected. The Germans were able to have a
tactical withdraw from their positions, and fell back to the base of the salient. The Germans
had their reinforcements come forward, and Pershing’s staff was doubtful 1
Army would be
able to keep pushing the attack. Pershing felt disagreed, but kept his promise to Foch and
limited the offensive (Millett & Maslowski, 1994, p. 372).
Pershing gathered his forces for the Meuse-Argonne offensive. He was aware of the 1
Army’s limitations, but concluded to use it as best as it could be. This offensive was the most
zealous military effort in American military history. They had 600,000 American troops,
4,000 guns, and were 60 miles away from the new front. The depots behind the lines were
swollen with 40,000 tons of ammunition and supplies. With a three-corps attack, Pershing
approved the offensive between the Muse and the Argonne Forest. West of the forest and east
of the river, was covered by the French troops. The Americans held the central, main attack,
with a head-on run through Montfaucon into the third German defense line at Romagne and
Cunel. The offensive was being manned by five divisions, covering 8 miles and penetrates
the German main defenses in two days. After an agonizing three hour bombardment, the US
Army sent Infantry waves against its first objectives on September 26
. This was the
beginning of the AEF’s greatest continuous assault effort. This offensive was only ended by
the armistice on November 11th (Millett & Maslowski, 1994, pp. 372-374).
According to Millett and Maslowski (1994), “Only four of the assault divisions had seen
serious combat, and four had not worked closely with their artillery. Although the right-flank
corps accomplished most of its missions, the center and left-flank corps immediately found
themselves tangled in woods and deep raines or punished in the open hills by machine guns
and converging artillery fire. Two days of heavy assaults did not reach the German main
defensive position, and two more days of local attacks did not change the situation. In the
meantime, the Germans hurried six more reinforcing divisions in to the Grandpre-Romagne-
Cunel line. On October 1, Pershing admitted the original plan had failed and called for his
own reserves” (p. 374). Pershing was bent on not losing his independent army nor the AEF’s