America's War for Humanity eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 688 pages of information about America's War for Humanity.

A remarkable summary of the operations of the American Expeditionary Force in France from the date of its organization, May 26, 1917, to the signing of the armistice November 11, 1918, was cabled to the Secretary of War by General Pershing on November 20, 1918.  His account of the active military operations was as follows: 

COMBAT OPERATIONS

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, 1918, in the Toul sector, but none had participated 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 of 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 battle-front.  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 German 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

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America's War for Humanity from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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