Knee Deep Into History… By mid-1918 the rapidly expanding but still green troops of the American Expeditionary Forces had yet to undertake an offensive as an independent American Army. But things were changing! At meetings throughout the late Spring and early Summer 1918 General Pershing continued to insist that the A.E.F. should fight as a separate American Army as soon as practical. On 24 July Pershing issued an order announcing the formation of the First American Army, effective 10 August; and in early August Generals Pershing and Foch agreed that American First Army should eliminate the St. Mihiel Salient. Accordingly, Pershing and his staff refreshed plans to attack in the St. Mihiel Salient, an objective that had been studied in 1917. The German Supreme Command had already planned a retreat from the Salient to a more defensive position, and the first German troops started moving when the offensive began.
The rapid success of the St. Mihiel Offensive, lasting only from 12 – 16 September 1918, would give a shot in the arm to America’s coalition partners and make the A.E.F. over-confident. In reality, the offensive featured overwhelming American numbers against a thinly held German line caught while withdrawing.
Allied attacks all over the Western Front in late 1918 happened in parallel to give the German Army the deathblow. However, things would not go as smoothly in the Meuse-Argonne (26 Sept. to 11 Nov.) as in the St. Mihiel Salient; and the green A.E.F. troops and leaders would suffer severe casualties in the face of a skilled adversary fighting for survival. That adversary had experience, knowledge of the terrain and time to plan and build multiple defensive lines.
Briefings during this fascinating tour will focus on the complexities of coalition war-making in late 1918, advances made by allies on other fronts, German Pershing and other key A.E.F. leaders, a comparison of U.S. and German casualties, and Germany’s defensive strategy in the region. This tour is also timed to participate in the Memorial Day Ceremony at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne-sous-Montfaucon!
Day 1—Saturday, 27 May—Pick up at CDG at 12:00pm. Evening briefing and introductory dinner.
Day 2—Sunday, 28 May—Meuse-Argonne—I Corps. Walks will include the Lost Battalion Pocket, le Chêne Tondu and Vauquois Hill. However, one walk could be cut, because of the time required to participate in the Memorial Day Ceremony at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery on this date.
Day 3—Monday, 29 May—Meuse-Argonne III Corps and East Bank of the Meuse. Walks will include the destroyed village of Forges and areas around Molleville Farm.
Day 4—Tuesday, 30 May—V Corps operations, we plan to visit the Meuse-Argonne American Memorial at Montfaucon and the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery at Romagne-sous-Montfaucon on this date. Walks will include the German Wiesenschlenkenstellung (defensive position), Montfaucon and Nantillois to the Hindenburg Line.
Day 5—Wednesday, 31 May—St. Mihiel Salient with a focus on the Southern flank, including the St. Mihiel American Cemetery at Thiaucourt and the Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof Thiaucourt.
Day 6—Thursday, 1 June— St. Mihiel Salient, with a focus on the 1st and 26th Divisions, including the St. Mihiel American Memorial at Montsec and walks along the Tranchée de Calonne.
Day 7—Friday, 2 June—Morning departure at 9:00am to CDG. We expect to arrive at the return point by 12:00pm, but delays are always possible.
Schedule is subject to modification as outlined in the 2023 Tour Brochure and 2023 Terms and Conditions.
Select Testimonials from 2022 Clients
“…This is my second visit with you and I am working on my third and fourth visits in the future. Most of all I want to thank you for helping not just one, but now two, of my sons to gain an incredible appreciation for WW1 and their great-grandfather. There is nothing like walking in his footsteps…” Matt Treaster, Kansas, 2022.
“You have provided me one of the best experiences of my life in the historical arena. In many ways it is superior to the drama of the first “take” in filming the First Manassas battle scene in North – South Pt. II… While it was good, yours was better as it was on real ground and intellectually stimulating. Your scholarship is awesome and MAKES your program—especially through your analysis of period photography. I hope to use your talents again for my wife, Viola, to gain some perspective on her father in WW1.” Matt Switlik, Michigan, 2022.
“It is always a boon when your expectations of a great learning experience turn into a grand WW1 adventure with two guides whom are first-class historians. The two tours I took cleared my many uncertain opinions about the war… My interest in artillery and narrow-gauge railways was a cause that Markus and Randy accepted and lead me to many interesting sites…” Ken Baumann, Michigan, 2022.
Testimonials from additional clients can be viewed on our Testimonials Page.
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Still have questions or concerns? Email Randy Gaulke at mailto:email@example.com.