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Rapid-Fire History: Meuse-Argonne Offensive


At 5:30 A.M. on the morning of September 26, 1918, after a three-hour artillery bombardment, the American Expeditionary Force under the command of General John J. Pershing launched the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Taking place in the Verdun region of France and part of a large Allied effort to dislodge the Germans from their heavily fortified positions along the Western Front, the offensive was the largest battle ever fought by Americans. Some 1.25 million American troops were involved in the bloody 47-day campaign that continued through the armistice that ended the First World War at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. The American Expeditionary Force suffered over 26,000 killed and 95,000 wounded, clearing some of the most heavily fortified positions along the Western Front and inflicting over 120,000 enemy casualties. After four years of relentless fighting, American manpower ultimately tipped the balance, helping the Allies break the stalemate and achieve victory. Many American leaders including Colonel George Marshall, Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur, Colonel George Patton, Captain Harry Truman, and more, participated in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and would go on to play pivotal roles during the Second World War.


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