September 26th, This Day in History
September 26, 1918: American forces begin their Meuse-Argonne offensive in WWI.
The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the greatest American battle of the First World War. In six weeks the AEF lost 26,277 killed and 95,786 wounded. It was a very complex operation involving a majority of the AEF ground forces fighting through rough, hilly terrain the German Army had spent four years fortifying. Its objective was the capture of the railroad hub at Sedan which would break the rail net supporting the German Army in France and Flanders and force the enemy's withdrawal from the occupied territories.
The bulk of the forces engaged in the initial onslaught had to be transferred from the St. Mihiel Salient ---- assaulted less than two weeks earlier ---- to a new jump off line north and northwest of Verdun. This new section of the front extended thirty miles east to west . The reshifting of forces in such a short period of time was one of the great accomplishments of the Great War. These logistics were planned and directed by Col. George C. Marshall establishing his reputation and preparing him to lead -- in the distant future --- American forces to victory in the Second World War.