Miracle at Belleau Wood: The Birth of the Modern U.S. Marine Corps by Alan Axelrod

Belleau Wood.jpg

"Retreat? Hell, we just got here." Captain Lloyd W. Williams of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines in response to French troops urging a retreat from Belleau Wood 1918.

The author of the acclaimed "Patton: A Biography" gives an inspired account of the horror and heroism experienced by U.S. Marines during World War 1 as they pushed a fortified German force from "an idyllic patch of forest" outside of Paris.
The ensuing month long battle fought from June 1st-26th, 1918 earned the Marines the nickname "Devil Dogs" from the German troops who thought them equal to their own "stormtroopers."

"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and a constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates, USMC in Belleau Wood, 19 July 1918

Belleau Wood was captured and recaptured by the Marines 6 times till they finally kicked the German Army out for good. The story of the ferocious battle is told through first hand accounts, letters, battle histories and Marine Corps records to paint a blood-soaked painting of combat during WW1 that reads like a story and not a history book.

"The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle."
Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing, U.S. Army
Commander of American Forces in World War I

I think I should note that the Marines were from the 4th Marine Brigade, which included the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments, and were assigned to the 2nd Division of the U.S. Army during the battle, so, naturally, Army personnel also participated. The 3rd Army Division was also present.

Recommended for history buffs of all ages and eras.

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Submitted by Dan @Central

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This page contains a single entry by Dan K. published on May 16, 2012 8:48 AM.

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