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Battle of Belleau Wood
Transcript of Battle of Belleau Wood
Jake Hromada, Jake Leibas Leaders of the Battle of Belleau Wood So, What Happened? 1,811 killed, 7,966 wounded, 1,600 captured Germany defeated Château-Thierry and Vaux, so they moved to Belleau Wood Battle was U.S. France & Britain VS. Germany began in 1918 near the Marne River in France June 1st-26th U.S. strengths: 2 army divisions, 1 brigade of U.S. marines, French army, and British corps. German strengths:5 divisions U.S Leaders John Pershing: General of the U.S. Army Devil Dogs. "With the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Czar in May of 1917, Russia surrenders to Germany. The Germans now unexpectedly find themselves with thirty-four experienced divisions to be moved to the western front. For the first time the entire war the Germans will outnumber the battle-weary British and French." From the movie script Devil Dogs. "On April 1917, the Americans declare war on Germany and soon begin shipping troops to France. The French want to break up the American troops to fill in the holes in their own battle lines. The American military commander, General John "Blackjack" Pershing, will not allow this. By the end of May 1918, there have been American troops sitting and waiting in France for over six months.." James Hardbord: Lieutenant General of U.S. Army Crown Prince Wilhelm: Commander of the 5th German Army The Marines had to cross wheat fields and meadows in order to clear Belleau Wood, yet the Germans prepared their guns in such a way that they could sweep these fields with fire and knock the marines a step back. To clear the woods the Marines began to use hand-to-hand fighting with bayonets and knives Germany launched attacks hoping to defeat the allies before U.S. forces could be fully deployed There was a large amount of confusion during the battle because none of the participants knew where the front line started and where to take position Belleau Wood was defended by the Germans, but first taken control by the U.S., The Germans took control again, and the U.S. gained control again. This process repeated six times throughout the six week battle. "Retreat? Hell, We Just Got Here!" Americans were told to retreat after the French lost several casualties on the Paris- Metz Highway leading into Belleau Wood, but the famous retort, "Retreat? Hell, we just got here!" was said by Major Fredric Wise The defeat of the Germans who had a much stronger military advantage showed their forces were exhausted, strained, and in desperate need of relief The main reason for the battle from the U.S. persepective was to stop Germany from making their final roll towards paris and to turn the tide of "The Great War" The Germans had a stronger military advantage, but had disadvantages such as guns, planes, and artillery. U.S. casualties were the most in the history of the Corps Ferocious fighting style of the Marines caused Germany to nickname them "Tufel Hunden" which translates "Devil Dogs" The battle itself marked the first large-scale battle of WWI fought by American soldiers Some historians feel the battle should have never happened, because commanders know of the outcome of casualties in dense dark forests. The attack on the Les Mares Farm was acknowledged as a high water mark for the German army because it was the closest the Germans got to Paris, about 50 miles away. After the battle many marines who fought wrote memoirs detailing the hard and grueling workplace they had to deal with. These memoris have significant detail of the U.S. Marines' view of the battle, yet is still a mystery how the Germans ran their side while fighting The the French used was "Bois Belleau" but renamed "Bois de la Brigade de Marine" in honor of the Marines who fought in the battle The battle is commonly noted as having no significant impact on WWI besides the fact that the Germans lost the battle