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The Meuse-Argonne Offensive

Victory Monument commemorating the Eighth Regiment of the Illinois National Guard, an African-American unit that served in France reorganized as the 370th U.S. Infantry Regiment of the 93rd Division. The bronze sculpture is by Leonard Crunelle and was erected in 1927.
The regiment saw action at St. Mihiel, the Argonne Forest, Mont des Singes, and in the Oise-Aisne Offensive. The monument lists the names of the 137 soldiers of the regiment who lost their lives in the war.

Victory Monument commemorating the Eighth Regiment of the Illinois National Guard, an African-American unit that served in France reorganized as the 370th U.S. Infantry Regiment of the 93rd Division. The bronze sculpture is by Leonard Crunelle and was erected in 1927.
The regiment saw action at St. Mihiel, the Argonne Forest, Mont des Singes, and in the Oise-Aisne Offensive. The monument lists the names of the 137 soldiers of the regiment who lost their lives in the war. © 2013, John M. Shea

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Since July 18, 1918 the Allies had been advancing in Second Battle of the Marne (the Aisne-Marne Offensive) and the Battle of Amiens. They had retaken all the ground Germany had seized in its offensives earlier in the year. Allied commanders have come to believe victory in 1918 was possible.

American commander General John J. Pershing had provided American reinforcements to the French and British to stem the German attacks, but insisted on a separate and independent United States Army. He activated the US First Army on August 10 under his own command. It had taken over the St. Mihiel sector with responsibility for the front from the Moselle to the Argonne Forest. The first independent American action was the reduction of the St. Mihiel salient, an area from which Ludendorff was retreating as the Americans attacked.

The Allied plan called for an offensive west of Verdun and the Meuse River, with the Americans advancing through the Argonne and the French Fourth Army attacking on their left.

The Allies began their assault on the morning of September 26 after a three-hour preliminary bombardment. Inexperienced American troops suffered heavy casualties in their advance.

On October 4 they renewed their assault with more experienced troops and on October 8 Franco-American forces advanced on the heights of the Meuse. By October 10, the Americans had cleared the Argonne Forest, allowing the French on their left to advance to the Aisne River.

In the offensive, the largest American effort of the war, the Americans suffered 100,000 casualties, and took 18,000 Germans prisoners.

1918-09-26

1918-11-11