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Château Thierry and Belleau Wood

Shared headstone of Erich Klein, infantryman, died June 13, 1918, Peter Graff, infantryman, died June 11, 1918, and Karl Börner, Deputy Officer, died June 10, 1918, in the Belleau German Cemetery, Belleau, France. They may have been killed during the weeks-long American attack to seize Belleau Wood, begun on June 6.
Text:
Erich Klein, Musketier, †13.6.1918
Peter Graff, Musketier, †11.6.1918
Karl Börner, Offz. Stellv., †10.6.1918
[Offizier Stellvertreter, Deputy Officer]

Shared headstone of Erich Klein, infantryman, died June 13, 1918, Peter Graff, infantryman, died June 11, 1918, and Karl Börner, Deputy Officer, died June 10, 1918, in the Belleau German Cemetery, Belleau, France. They may have been killed during the weeks-long American attack to seize Belleau Wood, begun on June 6. © 2014 by John M. Shea

Image text

Erich Klein, Musketier, †13.6.1918

Peter Graff, Musketier, †11.6.1918

Karl Börner, Offz. Stellv., †10.6.1918

[Offizier Stellvertreter, Deputy Officer]

In the Aisne Offensive, the third German drive of 1918, begun on May 27, the Germans attacked along the Chemins-des-Dames between Soissons and Reims, driving the French from the heights, crossing the Aisne River, and advancing up to 12 miles on the first day. They continued advancing, reaching the Marne River by the end of the month.

To stop the German advance, French and American troops were rushed to Château Thierry where two bridges crossed the Marne. The first American force to arrive was the 3rd Division's 7th Motorized Machine-gun Battalion which joined French colonial troops on June 1 in preventing German troops from crossing the Marne. Two days later, on June 3, the machine-gun battalion was relieved by the 9th Motorized Machine-gun Battalion, also of the 3rd Division.

After an unsuccessful German attack on the French line on June 3 and 4, the French withdrew through the supporting American line, leaving the American 2nd Division on the front line.

The American 3rd division relieved French units along the south bank of the Marne and stabilized the line. For the rest of the month, French and American troops launched local attacks to secure the Château Thierry sector.

The Allies were threatened by German troops on Hill 204 which overlooked Château Thierry and its bridges. A Franco-American attack on June 6 recovered the hill.

The Germans still held advantageous positions in Marette and Belleau Woods and the town of Bouresches. On June 6, US Marines and Infantry advanced on all three and captured Bouresches and Marette. It would not be until June 26 that the Marines, then the infantry, and finally the Marines would clear the dense and heavily fortified Belleau Wood.

In taking Vaux and Bois-de-la-Roche on July 1, the Americans completed the capture of the high ground and strong points at the limit of the German advance in the sector.

1918-06-01

1918-07-04

Château Thierry and Belleau Wood is part of The Aisne (Blücher) Offensive, the Third German Drive of 1918.