Primary Documents - John J. Pershing on the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, November 1919 The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, jointly launched by U.S. and French forces on the Western Front in front of the Argonne Forest east of Verdun in late September 1918, comprised one of the key offensives of the war and by the armistice had successfully driven north up the west bank of the Meuse to the Belgian border. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. First, the overgrown, bushy, terrain of the area was difficult. Gen. John Pershing’s opening surprise attack advanced 5 miles (8 km) along the Meuse River but only 2 miles (3 km) in the difficult Argonne Forest sector. What was the significance of the Battle of Argonne Forest? Attack after attack edged deeper into the Germans’ defensive position. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the greatest American battle of the First World War. The 117th Division, which opposed the U.S. 79th Division during the offensive's first phase, had only 3,300 men in its ranks. British and French armies attacked across northern France on September 28. It is the second deadliest battle in American history, resulting in over 350,000 casualties including 28,000 German lives, 26,277 American lives and an unknown number of French lives.  In the final days, the French forces conquered the immediate objective, Sedan and its critical railroad hub (the Advance to the Meuse (French: Poussée vers la Meuse)), on November 6 and American forces captured surrounding hills. The two U.S. armies faced portions of 31 German divisions during this phase. No. - Treaty of Versailles The Battle of the Argonne Forest The German forces were now at a stall, and the French and American forces saw an opportunity too end the war. The cost was later calculated to have been $180 million, or $1 million per minute. They brought more troops supplies tank / equipment and support. The 37th and 79th Division were augmented with a French tank regiment (Renault FT light tank) and 2 groups of medium tank (St-Chamond). The American troops captured German defenses at Buzancy, allowing French troops to cross the River Aisne, whence they rushed forward, capturing Le Chesne (the Battle of Chesne (French: Bataille du Chesne)). In six weeks the AEF lost 26,277 killed and 95,786 wounded. The Allied objective was the capture of the railway hub at Sedan that would break the railway network supporting the German Army in France and Flanders. Just to briefly recap, Antietam was the single, bloodiest day in American history. The Argonne is about 40 miles long and 10 miles wide (65 by 15 km). Although the code talkers had been highly effective, little time remained in…. British, French, and Belgian advances in the north-western sectors of the front, along with the French–American advances around the Argonne forest, is in turn credited for leading directly to the Armistice of November 11, 1918. The point that they come the closest to Paris is Château-Thierry, and just about five miles away is Belleau Wood. The German armies had occupied part of northern France since the early days of the war. Colonel George Marshall who managed to move American units to the front after the Battle of Saint-Mihiel (Saint-Mihiel is a town on the river Meuse, the most important water obstacle on the Western Front). It was fought from September 26, 1918, until the Armistice on November 11, a total of 47 days. On September 29, six extra German divisions were deployed to oppose the American attack, with the 5th Guards and 52nd Division counterattacking the 35th Division, which had run out of food and ammunition during the attack. The Americans faced the most difficult natural obstacle, the dense Argonne Forest. It was the final push by the Allies on the Western Front with the intention of forcing the Germans to capitulate after four years of fierce fighting. XVII Corps during the second phase). It was the only defeat of the American military during WWI It was the first U.S. battle against the Germany army It led to the death of General Pershing It was the largest military offensive in U.S. history and brought WWI to an end. The Battle of Argonne forest was significant because it helped Allied powers won the war. In the words of Pershing, "We were no longer engaged in a maneuver for the pinching out of a salient, but were necessarily committed, generally speaking, to a direct frontal attack against strong, hostile positions fully manned by a determined enemy." (1 point) A. the end of labor unions B. increased production of war materials C. a reduction in the number of European immigrants D. an increase in number of female nurses The Meuse–Argonne offensive was the largest in United States military history, involving 1.2 million American soldiers. Corrections? Newspapers of the time — the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Public Ledger, and the Catholic Standard and Times – have been my most valuable resource in this search. 1 Questions & Answers Place. The First, led by General Liggett, moved to the Carignan-Sedan-Mezieres Railroad. The Forest of Argonne is a long strip of mountainous and wild woodland in northeastern France, approximately 200 km (120 mi) east of Paris, France.In 1792 Charles François Dumouriez outmaneuvered the invading forces of the Duke of Brunswick in the forest before the Battle of Valmy. The Second Army, led by Lieutenant General Robert L. Bullard, was directed to move eastward toward Metz. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. For the Meuse–Argonne front alone, this represented 2,780 artillery pieces, 380 tanks, and 840 planes.  The September/October Allied breakthroughs (north, center, and east) across the length of the Front line – including the Battle of the Argonne Forest – are now lumped together as part of what is generally remembered as the Grand Offensive (also known as the Hundred Days Offensive) by the Allies on the Western Front. Battle information: The Battle of the Argonne was the last major offensive in the first world war. The subsequent day, September 27 most of the 1st Army failed to make any gains. The inexperienced 37th "Buckeye" Division failed to capture Montfaucon d'Argonne. , The German counterattack had shattered so much of the 35th Division—a poorly led division, most of whose key leaders had been replaced shortly before the attack, made up of National Guard units from Missouri and Kansas—that it had to be relieved early, though remnants of the division subsequently reentered the battle. Argonne, wooded, hilly region in eastern France that forms a natural barrier between Champagne and Lorraine. The Meuse–Argonne offensive was the largest in United States military history, involving 1.2 million American soldiers. The opposing forces were wholly German. Eventually, 22 American divisions participated in the battle at one time or another, representing two full field armies. On October 8, 1918, United States Corporal Alvin C. York reportedly kills over 20 German soldiers and captures an additional 132 at the head of a small detachment in the Argonne Forest … One was a joint operation in the Meuse valley toward the Mézière and Sedan rail centre. His plans for strategic bombing of the German homeland and for massive parachute invasions were cut short by the armistice, and he returned…, …use as telephone communicators during the Meuse-Argonne offensive. The American forces initially consisted of 15 divisions of the U.S. First Army commanded by General John J. Pershing until October 16 and then by Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett. The Meuse–Argonne battle was the largest frontline commitment of troops by the U.S. Army in World War I, and also its deadliest. The 1st Division created a gap in the lines when it advanced 2.5 km (1.6 mi) against the 37th, 52nd, and 5th Guards Divisions. It was fought from September 26, 1918, until the Armistice of November 11, 1918, a total of 47 days. (The Western Front was the battlefields west of Germany.) By October 31, the Americans had advanced 15 km (9.3 mi) and had cleared the Argonne Forest. Why was the Battle of Argonne forest significant? It was one of a series of Allied attacks known as the Hundred Days Offensive, which brought the war to an end. The 91st Division was augmented with a equivalent force (1 light tank regiment and 2 groups medium tank). Meanwhile, the French advanced steadily across the Aisne lowlands. The hilly massif rarely exceeds 650 feet (200 m) in elevation but is slashed with numerous deep valleys formed by watercourses associated with the Aire and Aisne rivers, which constitute a barrier to transportation. Morale varied among German units. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. The Argonne Forest and its surrounding areas was one of the focal points of the battle in October, and the rugged, unpredictable terrain contributed to massive amounts of American casualties. 1922. These conflicts took place from September 26, 1918, until the armistice, or peace agreement, on November 11, 1918. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Even though we historians know today that the Germans did not actually have Paris as a goal of their Spring Offensive, it’s easy to look at a map and see that they were progressively getting closer and closer. On the 11th day of the American offensive, the Germans recognized that they were outflanked and retreated to avoid capture. Updates? So o… While the US troops were not battle tested, the introduction of over 1 million well armed troops into a battle that had exhausted armies … Battle pushed them back into their own borders, reaching the Aisne River Western! 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