Published Authors

Into the Fight, April - June 1918: The U.S. Army Campaigns of World War I

by Mark Groteleuschen

April 1918 marked the first anniversary of the United States openly aligning as an “Associated Power” with the Entente or Allied nations of France, the British Empire, Italy, and other smaller powers in their efforts to defeat the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. Even though the United States had made extraordinary efforts to mobilize its military forces, its industry, and its entire society to join the fight, after a full year it had sent only 329,005 troops to Europe, put only one combat division into frontline trenches in a “quiet” sector, and had yet to engage in a single significant battle. But over the next few months, all that would change dramatically.

This commemorative pamphlet focuses on the activities of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in the crucial months of April, May, and June 1918. At the start of this period, the Germans hoped to use their numerical superiority on the Western Front to smash a hole through the Allied lines and force their opponents to come to terms before American forces could fully enter the war. The Germans conducted three massive offensives between April and June, but failed to achieve any strategic advantage. Although French and British veterans provided most of the resistance to these German attacks, the AEF soon would play a significant role on the Western Front by racing its fresh divisions forward, helping to stop the German advances, and finally launching attacks of its own. By the beginning of July, after brutal fighting at Cantigny, Château-Thierry, Belleau Wood, and Vaux, the bloodied American units had proved that even though they were inexperienced, they were willing to fight hard and learn fast. Those characteristics, in conjunction with the flood of American reinforcements arriving in France by the thousands each day, suggested that the tide was beginning to turn against the Central Powers. The Americans were not only in the war; they were joining the fight.