Wednesday, June 6, 2018

100 Yrs. Of "Devil-Dogs"

Saving the Frogs' bacon.
The first large-scale battle fought by American soldiers in World War I begins in Belleau Wood, northwest of the Paris-to-Metz road.

In late May 1918, the third German offensive of the year penetrated the Western Front to within 45 miles of Paris. U.S. forces under General John J. Pershing helped halt the German advance, and on June 6 Pershing ordered a counteroffensive to drive the Germans out of Belleau Wood. U.S. Marines under General James Harbord led the attack against the four German divisions positioned in the woods and by the end of the first day suffered more than 1,000 casualties.

For the next three weeks, the Marines, backed by U.S. Army artillery, launched many attacks into the forested area, but German General Erich Ludendorff was determined to deny the Americans a victory. Ludendorff continually brought up reinforcements from the rear, and the Germans attacked the U.S. forces with machine guns, artillery, and gas. Finally, on June 26, the Americans prevailed but at the cost of nearly 10,000 dead, wounded, or missing in action.
Comrade Misfit has the rest of the story:
Reportedly, their cherished nickname of "Devil Dogs" came from the Germans referring to them as "hell-hounds". So did the motivational cry of "C'mon you sons-of-bitches, do you want to live forever?" Nearly 2,000 Marines died there.
Also today in American military history: Battle of Midway continues, D-Day.

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