Thursday, June 28, 2018

June 24-July 18, 1918: “We will surely do our damndest over here,” The Champagne Defensive

by Maj. William Carraway
Historian, Georgia Army National Guard

From March 21 to June 15, 1918 the German Army had launched four offensives along the Western Front in a final effort to break the stalemate of trench warfare, drive the British Expeditionary Force from the continent and compel the French to sue for peace. The Germans met with early success during Operations Michael and Georgette, but the tactical victories and terrain captured did not translate to strategic victory. By June 15, the Germans had opened two salients in the Western Front. The Marne salient extended from Soissons in the west to Rheims in the east and plunged south to within 40 miles of Paris to the banks of the Marne River and the town of Chateau Thierry. The effects of the spring offensives and creation of the salients meant that the German Army now had a longer line to defend with fewer men. Recognizing this, and expecting another German offensive, General Ferdinand Foch, Supreme Allied Commander, began drawing additional forces to the Marne Salient and awaited the opportunity to launch a counteroffensive.

The Marne Salient, July 1918. Image credit

Thursday, June 7, 2018

May 26-June 23, 1918: “The war will be ended by the first of 1919.”

by Captain William Carraway
Historian, Georgia Army National Guard

As dawn broke on May 26, 1918, more than two months had passed since the 151st Machine Gun Battalion had suffered a casualty. The Soldiers in front line positions looked forward to relief. Company A and B remained in position in the front lines with the 167th Infantry Regiment at Neuviller while Company C and D remained on duty with the 168th at Ville Negre. The men of Company D were rotating out of front line positions that evening and would be replaced in the line by the machine gun company of the 168th Infantry Regiment after a front-line tour of more than two weeks. Just days before Companies C and D had repelled German probing attacks and dodged strafing fire from a low flying German plane.[i]

Map of the Baccarat Sector. Americans All: The Rainbow at War., F. J. Heer Printing Company, 1936, 228A