Brief description of the battle and the evaluation of the sources
The battle of analysis is the Meuse-Argonne Offensive that took place in 1918. The battle is perceived to be the most intense battles in the First World War involving America. Within a period of six weeks, an approximate number of twenty six thousand soldiers had died and ninety-six thousand had been injured. The authors, Martin King, David Hilborn, and Jason Nulton in their book To War with the 4th present a clear illustration of the events that took place during the war. It contains narrations from the soldiers that took part in the war whereby they explain their experiences during and after the war. According to the narrative, the battle of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in which General Pershing had engaged 631, 000 American troops and suffered 119, 000 casualties was over. It had lasted 47 days, penetrated the enemy lines to a depth of 55 kilometers, liberated 150 towns, and villages for France and free 1650 squares kilometers of territory. The book is significant as it presents evidence of the events that happened during the war, the reason behind the war and the implications of the people and nations that were involved. The authors explain that had begun on the 26th of September was among the distinguished victories of America that incorporated or rather was strengthened by the unity of the American soldiers. The further explain that the lack of sufficient intelligence resulted in inadequacy in the coordination of weapons between the artillery and infantry. Also, most of the attacks of the AEF turned to atrocities such that in some situations, the soldiers moved using shoulder to shoulder movements that led to the loss of their lives.
The authors explain that the preparation and the training that the soldiers had gone through before the war proved to be irrelevant and inadequate when compared to the surrounding and experiences that the war exposed them to.
Also, the innovative strategies and the directives issued by the leaders to the men that had occupied the trenches on the western front proved to be useless as the soldiers kept getting killed and injured as days went by. It reached a point that most of them were fighting for their lives and not the purpose of the war. The fourteen minute documentary regarding the war with the title The battle of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, a production of the U.S. Army signal corps, presents a clear illustration of the experience that the soldiers went through during the war. The film is taken when the soldiers are under action in France during the First World War. The documentary is in black and white and illustrates soldiers in motion with the ammunitions at close guard waiting to defend themselves and fight the enemy.
There are shots of blasts but appear blurry with words explaining the different occasions. A good example is the statement the beginning of zero hour before showing the events of the war. The documentary is a good piece illustrating and also giving a clear summary on the event of the war; from the ammunitions used by the soldiers, the experiences of the soldiers, the directives issues by leaders and the state of affairs during that period. In other words, it acts as a good visual piece that illustrates the war such that one gets a deeper connection of the events when watching it rather than just creating images in the mind after reading a text. Furthermore, it is a credible source and does not contain exaggerated information as the film was put online by the U.S. Army Signal Corps; the only organization that might have recorded the film during the event. Therefore, in analyzing a military event such as the battle of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the documentary is an efficient resource.
In the book, Between War and Peace by Matthew Moten, the author uses the example of the battle of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in showing the techniques that America uses in putting an end to its wars. He explains that unity among the American soldiers who show passion in defending their country is what has made the U.S. superior in winning most of its battles. He explains that despite the inadequacy in directives and innovativeness during the battle of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the combination of power and efforts gave the U.S. an advantage over its enemies such that it was able to secure back the rail and expand its power on other territories. The author states, For centuries soldiers have turned to military history as the foundation of professional knowledge, in explaining that the current victories by the U.S. are attributed to the tactics that they employed in the past wars; the battle of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive being among them. The book by Moten is relevant for the military research as it gives a comprehensive analysis on the characteristics of the past wars and how they have shaped the U.S military system.
Furthermore, it goes into detail on the structure of the battle of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive; its failures and successes and hence efficient for the research. The author also makes comparisons of other wars such as the Second World War, the Vietnamese wars and the Philippine wars to show the distinctive nature of the tactics of the U.S. forces since the First World War. Therefore, it does not include any bias towards the U.S. or other countries but rather supports content with various wars in explaining the concept of war and peace at a global perspective.
The Setting of the War
The operation was quite complex such that a majority of the soldiers were fighting on the tedious and hilly environment that had taken the German soldiers four years to fortify. The objective of the war was to get hold of the railroad center found in Sedan for the purpose of breaking the net that gave support to the Flanders and German forces based in France in addition to forcing the enemy to get away from the territories that they had occupied.
On the onset date of the war, the barrage entailing two thousand and seven hundred began. Ten division of the American army were made whereby each division had twenty six thousand men set ready to attack. The divisions were planned in three corps that was displayed on the north side of Champagne, and the western and the eastern zones of River Meuse. The divisions would be released, interchanged and at times shifted to the front on various phases of the war. There was also a Calvary that had been dismounted whose members were acting as scouts in addition to an LT Tank Brigade that were positioned to help the assault. However, there were delays as the 79th division faced challenges on the fourth day of the assault such that the Germans took advantage of the delay to recover from the attack surprise presented to them by the Americans such that they reorganized themselves. Some of the landmarks that were captured include Varennes, a historic town, and Butte de Vacquois. Montafucon was also captured but the delay caused the Germans to run off and reform and hence, the AEF missing an important opportunity to attack the Germans. There were also challenges in the movement especially at Argonne where roads were inefficient. Furthermore, there were mechanical problems and hence making the tanks difficult to move. The 77th division was ambushed on the forth of October whereby a lot of the soldiers were maimed such that the 82nd division had to be sent to release it from its area. The corps of the French XVII then launched an attack on the eastern part of the Meuse with the Germans whereby the Germans gave a high-resistance attack. On the 11th of October, Summerall was made the command of the key V Corps after Foch declared another recess after the new thrust slowed down. On the 13th, the AEF staged another attack but with partial progress. They were able to capture the Romagne and the Cugne that were located in the middle part of Argonne.
The majority of the people engaged in the onslaught had to be shifted from the salient at St. Mihiel that had been attacked two weeks before to the northwest section of Verdun. The newly occupied jump offline had an extension of thirty miles from the eastern part to the western area. The transfer of forces to the new jump offline within a short amount of time is perceived to be among the greatest achievements of the war. The short shift is accredited to Col. George C. Marshall who directed the whole operation and hence getting the reputation of an outstanding form of leadership. Furthermore, he played part in leading America to achieve victory during the Second World War
A description of the Action
According to the narration by Jonathan Luebke, in the book To war with the 4th, the war took began on 26th of September in 1918 and lasted for approximately 47 days. The soldier explains that special training had to be done and that groups had to be divided depending on the locations that the soldiers would be placed. The areas of war were war-torn such that the roads were miserable, the terrains were hilly and rocky and hence affecting the movement of weapons. Trenches were dug and half-filled with water. The soldiers would stay in the trenches despite the water for hours waiting for the directive to engage in an exchange of fire. According to the documentary, the soldiers would remain alert regardless of the time to ensure that they kept watch of the approaching enemy. They had long, large, leather-like coats that possibly partially protected them from the harsh weather conditions. Some soldier lay on ground while others stay still in the trenches waiting for command. The types of weapons used were guns whereby trenches as the areas of defenses, and bombs that were shot from armored cars. The most intense battle was the entry to the forest of Argonne where only few soldiers survived.
The significance of the action
The battle brought into perspective the essence of a strong military power in addition to unity among the forces. From the analysis, the type of training that the soldiers had undergone through did not align with the conditions of the war and therefore, they found it difficult adjusting to the changes and often ended up in bloodbaths. However, the directive by Col. George C. Marshall for the soldiers to shift to the northwest part of Verdun and the unity exhibited by the U.S. forces, the U.S. was able to achieve victory. It is worth noting that the same tactics are what made the U.S. to win the Second World War. The war is significant to the military history as it illustrates some of the techniques that resulted in stability in the U.S. during the periods of atrocities.
King, Martin, David Hilborn, and Jason Nulton. 2016. To War With The 4Th. Havertown: Casemate.
U.S. Army Signal Corp,. 2016. "Meuse-Argonne Offensive WW1 - Final Decisive Battle In World War I, Bloodiest Battle - Silent". Youtube.
Lengel, Edward G. To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918 The Epic Battle That Ended the First World War. Macmillan, 2008.
Moten, Matthew, ed. Between War and Peace: How America Ends Its Wars. Simon and Schuster, 2011.
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