The Info List - American Expeditionary Forces

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Western Front

Battle of Cambrai Spring Offensive

Battle of Cantigny Battle of Belleau Wood Second Battle of the Marne Battle of Château-Thierry

Hundred Days Offensive

Battle of Saint-Mihiel Meuse-Argonne Offensive

Italian Front

Battle of Vittorio Veneto


Commander in Chief Gen. John J. Pershing

The American Expeditionary Forces
American Expeditionary Forces
(AEF) were the fighting men of the United States
United States
Army during World War I. It was established on July 5, 1917, in France
under the command of General John J. Pershing. During the United States
United States
campaigns in World War I
World War I
it fought alongside the French Army, British Army, Canadian Army
Canadian Army
and Australian Army
Australian Army
on the Western Front, against the German Empire. A minority of the AEF troops also fought alongside the Italian Army
Italian Army
in that same year, against the Austro-Hungarian Army. The AEF helped the French Army
French Army
on the Western Front during the Aisne Offensive (at the Battle of Château-Thierry (1918) and Battle of Belleau Wood) in the summer of 1918, and the AEF fought its major actions in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel
Battle of Saint-Mihiel
and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive
Meuse-Argonne Offensive
in the latter part of 1918.


1 History

1.1 1918 1.2 Casualties 1.3 African Americans

2 See also 3 Notes 4 Further reading 5 External links

History[edit] Main article: Military history of the United States

With America's first convoy. The troop ships are the Henderson, Antilles, Momus, and Lenape.

General John J. Pershing

President Woodrow Wilson
President Woodrow Wilson
initially planned to give command of the AEF to Gen. Frederick Funston, but after Funston's sudden death, Wilson appointed Major General John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing
in May 1917, and Pershing remained in command for the entire war. Pershing insisted that American soldiers be well-trained before going to Europe. As a result, few troops arrived before January 1918. In addition, Pershing insisted that the American force would not be used merely to fill gaps in the French and British armies, and he resisted European efforts to have U.S. troops deployed as individual replacements in decimated Allied units. This approach was not always well received by the western Allied leaders who distrusted the potential of an army lacking experience in large-scale warfare.[1] In addition, the British Empire tried to bargain with its spare shipping to make the United States
United States
put its soldiers into British ranks.

Column of American troops passing Buckingham Palace, London, 1917.

By June 1917, only 14,000 American soldiers had arrived in France, and the AEF had only a minor participation at the front through late October 1917, but by May 1918 over one million American troops were stationed in France, though only half of them made it to the front lines.[2] Since the transport ships needed to bring American troops to Europe were scarce at the beginning, the U.S. Army pressed into service passenger liners, seized German ships, and borrowed Allied ships to transport American soldiers from ports in New York City, New Jersey, and Virginia. The mobilization effort taxed the American military to the limit and required new organizational strategies and command structures to transport great numbers of troops and supplies quickly and efficiently. The French harbors of Bordeaux, La Pallice, Saint Nazaire, and Brest became the entry points into the French railway system that brought the American troops and their supplies to the Western Front. American engineers in France
also built 82 new ship berths, nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of additional standard-gauge tracks, and over 100,000 miles (160,000 km) of telephone and telegraph lines.[1] The first American troops, who were often called "Doughboys", landed in Europe in June 1917. However the AEF did not participate at the front until October 21, 1917, when the 1st Division fired the first American shell of the war toward German lines, although they participated only on a small scale. A group of regular soldiers and the first American division to arrive in France, entered the trenches near Nancy, France, in Lorraine.[1] The AEF used French and British equipment. Particularly appreciated were the French canon de 75 modèle 1897, the canon de 155 C modèle 1917 Schneider, and the canon de 155mm GPF. American aviation units received the SPAD XIII
and Nieuport 28
Nieuport 28
fighters, and the U.S. Army tank corps used French Renault FT
Renault FT
light tanks. Pershing established facilities in France
to train new arrivals with their new weapons.[3] By the end of 1917, four divisions were deployed in a large training area near Verdun: the 1st Division, a regular army formation; the 26th Division, a National Guard division; the 2nd Division, a combination of regular troops and U.S. Marines; and the 42nd "Rainbow" Division, a National Guard division made up of soldiers from nearly every state in the United States. The fifth division, the 41st Division, was converted into a depot division near Tours. 1918[edit]

Allies gain overwhelming superiority in front-line rifle strength as American soldiers arrive in the summer[4]

At the beginning, during the Spring of 1918, the four battle-ready U.S. divisions were deployed under French and British command to gain combat experience by defending relatively quiet sectors of their lines. After the first offensive action and American-led AEF victory on 28 May 1918 at the Battle of Cantigny,[5] by the U.S. 1st Division, and a similar local action by the 2nd Division at Belleau Wood beginning 6 June, both while assigned under French Corps command, Pershing worked towards the deployment of an independent US field Army. The rest followed at an accelerating pace during the spring and summer of 1918. By June Americans were arriving in-theater at the rate of 10,000 a day; most of which entered training by British, Canadian and Australian battle-experienced officers and senior non-commissioned ranks. The training took a minimum of six weeks due to the inexperience of the servicemen. The first offensive action by AEF units serving under non-American command was 1,000 men (four companies from the 33d Division AEF), with the Australian Corps during the Battle of Hamel
Battle of Hamel
on 4 July 1918. ( Corporal
Thomas A. Pope
Thomas A. Pope
was awarded the Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
for this battle.) This battle took place under the overall command of the Australian Corps commander, Lt. Gen. Sir John Monash. The Allied force in this battle combined artillery, armor, infantry, and air support (Combined arms), which served as a blueprint for all subsequent Allied attacks, using "tanks".[6]

Champagne-Marne offensive, 1918.

U.S. Army and Marine Corps troops played a key role in helping stop the German thrust towards Paris, during the Second Battle of the Marne in June 1918 (at the Battle of Château-Thierry (1918)
Battle of Château-Thierry (1918)
and the Battle of Belleau Wood). The first major and distinctly American offensive was the reduction of the Saint Mihiel salient during September 1918. During the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, Pershing commanded the U.S. First Army, composed of seven divisions and more than 500,000 men, in the largest offensive operation ever undertaken by United States
United States
armed forces. This successful offensive was followed by the Meuse-Argonne offensive, lasting from September 26 to November 11, 1918, during which Pershing commanded more than one million American and French combatants. In these two military operations, Allied forces recovered more than 200 sq mi (488 km2) of French territory from the German army. By the time the World War I
World War I
Armistice had suspended all combat on November 11, 1918, the American Expeditionary Forces
American Expeditionary Forces
had evolved into a modern, combat-tested army.[1] Late in the war, American units ultimately fought in two other theaters at the request of the European powers. Pershing sent troops of the 332d Infantry Regiment to Italy, and President Wilson agreed to send some troops, the 27th and 339th Infantry Regiments, to Russia.[7] These latter two were known as the American Expeditionary Force Siberia,[8] and the American Expeditionary Force North Russia.[9] Casualties[edit]

Army field hospital in France, 1918.

Identity card of a member of the Expeditionary Forces.

The AEF sustained about 320,000 casualties: 53,402 battle deaths, 63,114 noncombat deaths and 204,000 wounded.[10] The influenza pandemic during the fall of 1918 took the lives of more than 25,000 men from the AEF, while another 360,000 became gravely ill. Some other diseases were relatively well controlled through compulsory vaccination. Typhoid fever
Typhoid fever
was also practically eliminated. Relatively few men suffered actual injury from poison gas, although much larger numbers mistakenly thought that they had been exposed.[7] Using questionnaires filled out by doughboys as they left the Army, Gutièrrez reports that they were not cynical or disillusioned. They fought "for honor, manhood, comrades, and adventure, but especially for duty."[11] African Americans[edit]

Officers of the 366th Infantry, c. 1919.

African Americans were drafted on the same basis as whites and made up 13 percent of the draftees. By the end of the war, over 350,000 African-Americans had served in AEF units on the Western Front.[12] However, they were assigned to segregated units commanded by white officers. One fifth of the black soldiers sent to France
saw combat, compared to two-thirds of the whites. They were three percent of AEF combat forces, and under two percent of battlefield fatalities.[13] "The mass of the colored drafted men cannot be used for combatant troops", said a General Staff report in 1918, and it recommended that "these colored drafted men be organized in reserve labor battalions." They handled unskilled labor tasks as stevedores in the Atlantic ports and common laborers at the camps and in the Services of the Rear in France.[14] The French, whose front-line troops were resisting combat duties to the point of mutiny, requested and received control of several regiments of black combat troops.[15] Kennedy reports "Units of the black 92nd Division particularly suffered from poor preparation and the breakdown in command control. As the only black combat division, the 92nd Division entered the line with unique liabilities. It had been deliberately dispersed throughout several camps during its stateside training; some of its artillery units were summoned to France
before they had completed their courses of instruction, and were never fully-equipped until after the Armistice; nearly all its senior white officers scorned the men under their command and repeatedly asked to be transferred. The black enlisted men were frequently diverted from their already attenuated training opportunities in France
in the summer of 1918 and put to work as stevedores and common laborers."[16] The 369th, 370th, 371st, and 372d Infantry Regiments (nominally the 93d Division, but never consolidated as such) served with distinction under French command with French colonial units in front-line combat. The French did not harbor the same levels of disdain based on skin color and for many Americans of an African-American descent it was a liberating and refreshing experience.[citation needed] These African-American soldiers wore American uniforms, some dating from the time of the Union Army, with French helmets and were armed with French Model 1907/15 8mm Lebel
8mm Lebel
Berthier rifle, and Fusil Mle 1907/15 manufactured by Remington Arms
Remington Arms
rather than the M1903 Springfield
M1903 Springfield
or M1917 Enfield
M1917 Enfield
rifles issued to most American soldiers.[17] One of the most distinguished units was the 369th Infantry Regiment, known as the Harlem Hellfighters. The 369th was on the front lines for six months, longer than any other African-American regiment in the war. One hundred seventy-one members of the 369th were awarded the Legion of Merit.[18] One member of the 369th, Sergeant
Henry Johnson, was awarded the French Croix de guerre,[19] and posthumously the Medal of Honor.[20] See also[edit]

United States
United States
Army portal World War I
World War I

American Expeditionary Forces
American Expeditionary Forces
on the Western Front (World War I)
Western Front (World War I)
order of battle Services of Supply, American Expeditionary Forces Formations of the United States
United States
Army during World War I Timeline of World War I General Pershing WWI casualty list


^ a b c d Coffman, The War to End All Wars (1998) ^ Pershing, My Experiences in the World War (1931) ^ Wilson, Treat 'Em Rough: The Birth of American Armor, 1917–1920 (1989) ^ Leonard P. Ayers, online The war with Germany: a statistical summary (1919) p 105 ^ Matthew Davenport, "First Over There", 2015, Thomas Dunne Books ^ Roland Perry, Monash – The Outsider Who Won a War, 2007, Random House, Sydney, pp.349–352 ^ a b Venzon, ed. The United States
United States
in the First World War: An Encyclopedia (1995) ^ Robert L. Willett, Russian Sideshow, pp. 166–167, 170 ^ E.M. Halliday, When Hell Froze Over (New York City, NY, ibooks, inc., 2000), p. 44 ^ Congressional Research Service, American War and Military Operations Casualties:Lists and Statistics ^ Edward A. :Gutièrrez, Doughboys on the Great War: How American Soldiers Viewed Their Military Experience (2014) ^ African-Americans Continue Tradition of Distinguished Service; U.S. Army; Gerry J. Gilmore; February 2, 2007 ^ Jennifer D. Keene, "Americans as Warriors: 'Doughboys' in Battle during the First World War", OAH Magazine of History, Vol. 17, No. 1, World War I
World War I
(Oct., 2002), p. 17. ^ Kennedy (1982) 162. ^ Barbeau and Henri (1974); [1]. ^ Kennedy (1982) p. 199. ^ Canfield, Bruce N. American Rifleman
American Rifleman
(April 2009) p. 40 ^ http://www.explorepahistory.com/~expa/cms/pbfiles/Project1/Scheme40/ExplorePAHistory-a0b1b6-a_514.pdf ^ "3dpublishing.com".  ^ "timesunion.com". 

Further reading[edit]

Ayres, Leonard P, The War with Germany: A Statistical Summary Government Printing Office, 1919 full text online Barbeau, Arthur E. and Florette Henri, The Unknown Soldiers: Black American Troops in World War I
World War I
(Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1974), Beaver, Daniel R. Newton D. Baker and the American War Effort, 1917–1919 (1966) Chambers, John W., II. To Raise an Army: The Draft Comes to Modern America (1987) Coffman, Edward M (1998). The War to End All Wars: The American Military Experience in World War I
World War I
The Standard History. ISBN Cooke, James J., The Rainbow Division in the Great War, 1917–1919 Praeger Publishers, (1994) Dalessandro, Robert J. & Dalessandro, Rebecca S. American Lions: The 332nd Infantry Regiment in World War I
World War I
(Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2009) Dalessandro, Robert J., & Knapp, Michael G., "Organization and Insignia of the American Expeditionary Forces, 1917–1923" (Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2008) The best single volume on AEF unit organization. Dalessandro, Robert J. & Gerald Torrence, "Willing Patriots: Men of Color in the First World War" (Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2009) Davenport, Matthew J. "First Over There: The Attack on Cantigny America's First Battle of World War I" (New York, Thomas Dunne: 2015) Faulkner, Richard S. Pershing's Crusaders: The American Soldier in World War I
World War I
(U Press of Kansas, 2017). xiv, 758 pp Freidel, Frank. Over There (1964), well illustrated Grotelueschen; Mark E. Doctrine under Trial: American Artillery Employment in World War I
World War I
(2001) ISBN 0-313-31171-4 (full text version at Google Books) Hallas, James H. Doughboy
War: The American Expeditionary Force in World War I
World War I
(2000) Heller Charles E. Chemical Warfare in World War I. The American Experience, 1917–1918. Fort Leavenworth, Kan.: Combat Studies Institute, 1984. Holley, I. B. Ideas and Weapons: Exploitation of the Aerial Weapon by the United States
United States
During World War I(1983) Howarth, Stephen. To Shining Sea: A History of the United States
United States
Navy, 1775–1991 (1991) Hurley, Alfred F. Billy Mitchell, Crusader for Air Power (1975) James, D. Clayton. The Years of MacArthur, I, 1880–1941. (1970) Johnson; Herbert A. Wingless Eagle: U.S. Army Aviation through World War I University of North Carolina Press, (2001) Kennedy, David M. Over Here: The First World War and American Society (1982) Koistinen, Paul. Mobilizing for Modern War: The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1865–1919 (2004) Lengel, Edward G. (2008). To Conquer Hell. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 0-8050-7931-9.  Lengel, Edward G., ed. A Companion to the Meuse-Argonne Campaign (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014). xii, 537 pp. Millett, Allan Reed. Semper Fidelis: The History of the United States Marine Corps (1991) Pershing, John J. Pershing, My Experiences in the World War (1931) Smythe, Donald. Pershing: General of the Armies
General of the Armies
(1986) Van Ells, Mark D. America and World War I: A Traveler's Guide. (Interlink, 2014) Trask, David F. The United States
United States
in the Supreme War Council: American War Aims and Inter-Allied Strategy, 1917–1918 (1961) Venzon, Anne ed. The United States
United States
in the First World War: An Encyclopedia (1995) Wilson Dale E. Treat 'Em Rough: The Birth of American Armor, 1917–1920 Presidio Press, 1989. Woodward, David R. The American Army and the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 2014). 484 pp. online review Yockelson, Mitchell A. (2008-05-30). Borrowed Soldiers: Americans under British Command, 1918. Foreword by John S. D. Eisenhower. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-3919-7.  Yockelson, Mitchell. Forty-Seven Days: How Pershing's Warriors Came of Age to Defeat at the German Army in World War I
World War I
(New York: NAL, Caliber, 2016) ISBN 978-0-451-46695-2 Zeiger; Susan. In Uncle Sam's Service: Women Workers with the American Expeditionary Force, 1917–1919 (1999)

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to American Expeditionary Forces.

Records of the American Expeditionary Forces
American Expeditionary Forces
(World War I) at the National Archives and Records Administration United States
United States
Army Center of Military History

Army Historical Series: American Military History

Chapter 17: "World War I: The First Three Years" Chapter 18: "World War I: The U.S. Army Overseas"

CMH Subject Publications

CMH Pub 24-1: "Learning Lessons in the American Expeditionary Forces"

U.S. Army Chemical Corps Historical Studies

"Gas Warfare in World War I: Study Number 9: The 1st Division at Ansauville"; January – April 1918

American Battle Monuments Commission Publications

"82d Division: Summary of Operations in the World War" "92d Division: Summary of Operations in the World War" "93d Division: Summary of Operations in the World War"

Archival material

Awards and Decorations: World War I
World War I
Statistics Campaigns of the United States
United States
Army AEF General Headquarters

American Expeditionary Force website – recaps war in 10 pages Works by United States
United States
Army. American Expeditionary Forces
American Expeditionary Forces
at Project Gutenberg Works by or about American Expeditionary Forces
American Expeditionary Forces
at Internet Archive Works by American Expeditionary Forces
American Expeditionary Forces
at LibriVox
(public domain audiobooks) WWI Service Questionnaires at Gettysburg College World War I : Soldiers Remembered, Washington State Library and Washington State Archives The American Expeditionary Force in World War I Edith M. Faulstich A.E.F Collections & Writings

Hoover Institution Archives: Collection Name: Faulstich, Edith M. died 1972, collector

Edith M. Faulstich collection, 1918–1975: AEF Letters, Diaries, Photos

Letters to the A.E.F in Siberia

"A Find! Mail To the American Expeditionary Forces"

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 129053844 LCCN: n84077783 ISNI: 0000 0001 2155 6399 GND: 5026840-5 SUDOC: 02967428X BNF: cb13746120z (data)