|American Expeditionary Forces|
Officers of the AEF and the Baker Mission, c. 1918.
|Disbanded||August 31, 1920|
|Size||c. 2,000,000 men|
|General Headquarters||Chaumont, France|
|Engagements|| Western Front |
|Commander in Chief||Gen. John J. Pershing|
The American Expeditionary Forces (A. E. F., A.E.F. or AEF) was a formation of the United States Army on the Western Front of World War I. The AEF was established on July 5, 1917, in France under the command of Gen. John J. Pershing. It fought alongside French Army, British Army, Canadian Army, and Australian Army units against the German Empire. A minority of the AEF troops also fought alongside Italian Army units in that same year against the Austro-Hungarian Army. The AEF helped the French Army on the Western Front during the Aisne Offensive (at the Battle of Château-Thierry and Battle of Belleau Wood) in the summer of 1918, and fought its major actions in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in the latter part of 1918.
The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.
The Western Front was the main theatre of war during the First World War. Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne. Following the Race to the Sea, both sides dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France, which changed little except during early 1917 and in 1918.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
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 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.In addition, the British Empire tried to bargain with its spare shipping to make the United States put its soldiers into British ranks.
Frederick Funston also known as Fighting Fred Funston, was a general in the United States Army, best known for his roles in the Spanish–American War and the Philippine–American War. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Philippine–American War.
General of the Armies John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing was a senior United States Army officer. His most famous post was when he served as the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) on the Western Front in World War I, 1917–18.
The Allies of World War I or Entente Powers is the term commonly used for the coalition that opposed the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria during the First World War (1914–1918).
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. 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of additional standard-gauge tracks, and over 100,000 miles (160,000 km) of telephone and telegraph lines.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
The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States and thus also in the state of New York. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.
New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the Northeastern United States. It is a peninsula, bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, particularly along the extent of the length of New York City on its western edge; on the east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic Ocean; on the west by the Delaware River and Pennsylvania; and on the southwest by the Delaware Bay and Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state by area but the 11th-most populous, with 9 million residents as of 2017, and the most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states; its biggest city is Newark. New Jersey lies completely within the combined statistical areas of New York City and Philadelphia and was the second-wealthiest U.S. state by median household income as of 2017.
Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" due to its status as the first English colonial possession established in mainland North America and "Mother of Presidents" because eight U.S. presidents were born there, more than any other state. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2017 is over 8.4 million.
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.
Doughboy was an informal term for a member of the United States Army or Marine Corps, especially used to refer to members of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, but initially used in the Mexican–American War of 1846–1848. A popular mass-produced sculpture of the 1920s designed by E. M. Viquesney – the Spirit of the American Doughboy – shows a U.S. soldier in World War I uniform.
The 1st Infantry Division is a combined arms division of the United States Army, and is the oldest continuously serving in the Regular Army. It has seen continuous service since its organization in 1917 during World War I. It was officially nicknamed "The Big Red One" after its shoulder patch and is also nicknamed "The Fighting First". However, the division has also received troop monikers of "The Big Dead One" and "The Bloody First" as puns on the respective officially sanctioned nicknames. It is currently based at Fort Riley, Kansas.
Nancy is the capital of the north-eastern French department of Meurthe-et-Moselle, and formerly the capital of the Duchy of Lorraine, and then the French province of the same name. The metropolitan area of Nancy had a population of 434,565 inhabitants at the 2011 census, making it the 20th largest urban area in France. The population of the city of Nancy proper was 104,321 in 2014.
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 fighters, and the U.S. Army tank corps used French Renault FT light tanks. Pershing established facilities in France to train new arrivals with their new weapons.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.
The French 75 mm field gun was a quick-firing field artillery piece adopted in March 1898. Its official French designation was: Matériel de 75mm Mle 1897. It was commonly known as the French 75, simply the 75 and Soixante-Quinze. The French 75 was designed as an anti-personnel weapon system for delivering large volumes of time-fused shrapnel shells on enemy troops advancing in the open. After 1915 and the onset of trench warfare, other types of battlefield missions demanding impact-detonated high-explosive shells prevailed. By 1918 the 75s became the main agents of delivery for toxic gas shells. The 75s also became widely used as truck mounted anti-aircraft artillery. They were also the main armament of the Saint-Chamond tank in 1918.
The Canon de 155 C modèle 1917 Schneider, often abbreviated as the C17S, was a French howitzer designed by Schneider. It was essentially the Canon de 155 C modèle 1915 Schneider fitted with a different breech to use bagged propellant rather than the cartridge cases used by the older howitzer. It was used by France, Italy, Russian Empire, Belgium and the United States from 1917 during World War I and was widely exported after the war. Surviving weapons were in service with France, Poland, Greece, Italy, Belgium, the United States and Finland during World War II. Captured weapons were used by the Germans for their 2nd-line artillery and coast defense units.
The Canon de 155 Grande Puissance Filloux (GPF) mle.1917 was a WWI-era French-designed 155 mm gun used by the French Army and the United States Army during the first half of the 20th century in towed and self-propelled mountings.
Supporting the two million soldiers across the Atlantic Ocean was a massive logistical enterprise. Yet the U.S. Army's logistical skills had atrophied during the decades following the Civil War. In order to be successful, the Americans needed to create a coherent support structure with very little institutional knowledge.
After a rough start, the AEF developed support network appropriate for the huge size of the American force. It rested upon the Services of Supply in the rear areas, with ports, railroads, depots, schools, maintenance facilities, bakeries, clothing repair shops (termed salvage), replacement depots, ice plants, and a wide variety of other activities.
Services of Supply was the support chain of the American Expeditionary Forces in France, England, Italy and the Netherlands during World War I. It was activated on July 5, 1917 and inactivated on August 31, 1919.
The Services of Supply initiated support techniques that would last well into the Cold War including forward maintenance, field cooking, graves registration (mortuary affairs), host nation support, motor transport, and morale services. The work of the logisticians enabled the success of the AEF and contributed to the emergence of the American Army as a modern fighting force.
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.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. "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. 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. 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."
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 Berthier rifle, and Fusil Mle 1907/15 manufactured by Remington Arms rather than the M1903 Springfield or M1917 Enfield rifles issued to most American soldiers. 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. One member of the 369th, Sergeant Henry Johnson, was awarded the French Croix de guerre, and posthumously the Medal of Honor.
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,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 on 4 July 1918. (Corporal Thomas A. Pope was awarded the 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".
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) 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 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 Armistice had suspended all combat on November 11, 1918, the American Expeditionary Forces had evolved into a modern, combat-tested army.
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.These latter two were known as the American Expeditionary Force Siberia, and the American Expeditionary Force North Russia.
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."
The AEF sustained about 320,000 casualties: 53,402 battle deaths, 63,114 noncombat deaths and 204,000 wounded.Relatively few men suffered actual injury from poison gas, although much larger numbers mistakenly thought that they had been exposed. The 1918 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 was also practically eliminated.
The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was a major part of the final Allied offensive of World War I that stretched along the entire Western Front. It was fought from September 26, 1918 until the Armistice of November 11, 1918, a total of 47 days. The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the largest in United States military history, involving 1.2 million American soldiers. It was one of a series of Allied attacks known as the Hundred Days Offensive, which brought the war to an end. The battle cost 28,000 German lives, 26,277 American lives and an unknown number of French lives. It was the largest and bloodiest operation of World War I for the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) even if, given the scale of other battles on the Western Front, its size was limited and the operation itself secondary as it was far from the main offensive axis. It was the deadliest battle in American history. U.S. losses were exacerbated by the inexperience of many of the troops, the tactics used during the early phases of the operation and the widespread onset of the influenza outbreak called the "Spanish Flu". Meuse-Argonne was the principal engagement of the AEF during World War I.
The Battle of Saint-Mihiel was a major World War I battle fought from 12–15 September 1918, involving the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) and 110,000 French troops under the command of General John J. Pershing of the United States against German positions. The U.S. Army Air Service played a significant role in this action.
The Battle of Château-Thierry was fought on July 18, 1918 and was one of the first actions of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) under General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing. It was a battle in World War I as part of the Second Battle of the Marne, initially prompted by a German Spring Offensive. German and local actions at Château-Thierry recommenced on June 3, 1918 and lasted through June 26, 1918 against the AEF, an American Expeditionary Force, consisting of troops from both the United States Army and Marine Corps units. These units were the newest troops on the front in France and just barely out of training.
The 92nd Infantry Division was a segregated infantry division of the United States Army that served in both World War I and World War II. The division was organized in October 1917, after the U.S. entry in World War I, at Camp Funston, Kansas, with African American soldiers from all states. In 1918, before leaving for France, the American buffalo was selected as the divisional insignia due to the "Buffalo Soldiers" nickname, given to African American cavalrymen by Native Americans in the 19th century. The "Buffalo Soldiers Division" divisional nickname was inherited from the 366th Infantry, one of the first units of the division organized.
The American Expeditionary Force, North Russia was a contingent of about 5,000 United States Army troops that landed in Arkhangelsk, Russia as part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War and fought the Red Army in the surrounding region during the period of September 1918 through to July 1919.
Lieutenant General James Guthrie Harbord was a senior officer of the United States Army and President and Chairman of the Board of RCA.
The American Expeditionary Force, Siberia was a formation of the United States Army involved in the Russian Civil War in Vladivostok, Russia, during the end of World War I after the October Revolution, from 1918 to 1920. The force was part of the larger Allied North Russia Intervention. As a result of this expedition early relations between the United States and the Soviet Union were poor.
Second Army was most recently located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia as a Direct Reporting Unit to Headquarters U.S. Army, Chief Information Officer (CIO)/G-6. Under the CIO/G-6, Second Army served as the single point of contact for Army missions and functions related to reporting on, assessing, planning, coordinating, integrating, synchronizing, directing and conducting Army network operations. This mission ended after a 2017 reorganization, when the Second Army was inactivated.
Lieutenant General Robert Lee Bullard was a senior officer of the United States Army. He was involved in conflicts in the American Western Frontier, the Philippines, and World War I, where he commanded the 1st Infantry Division during the Battle of Cantigny while serving on the Western Front. He later was an administrator in Cuba.
This article is about the United States campaigns in World War I. American entry into World War I in early April 1917 resulted in the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) on the Western Front, under General John J. Pershing, being engaged in 13 campaigns, during the period 1917–18, for which campaign streamers were designated. The streamer uses the colors of the World War I Victory Medal ribbon which had a red center with a rainbow on each side of the center stripe and a purple edge. The double rainbow symbolizes the dawn of a new era and the calm which follows the storm.
The Battle of Cantigny, fought May 28, 1918 was the first major American battle and offensive of World War I. The U.S. 1st Division, the most experienced of the five American divisions then in France and in reserve for the French Army near the village of Cantigny, was selected for the attack. The objective of the attack was both to reduce a small salient made by the German Army in the front lines but also to instill confidence among the French and British allies in the ability of the inexperienced American Expeditionary Force (AEF).
The 15th Cavalry Division was a cavalry division of the United States Army during World War I, the only United States cavalry division formed during the war.
The 39th Infantry Division was an infantry formation of the Army National Guard, originally formed as the 18th Division in 1917. The division consisted of troops from Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. After training at Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, the division was deployed to France but did not see combat before the end of World War I. In July 1923 the division was re-designated as the 31st Infantry Division. The 39th Infantry Division was reactivated after World War II with troops from Louisiana and Arkansas and its headquarters in Louisiana. In 1967, the 39th Infantry Division was reorganized to become the 39th Infantry Brigade (Separate). Its headquarters was in Little Rock, Arkansas and the unit consisted entirely of troops from the Arkansas Army National Guard.
The 99th Aero Squadron was a Air Service, United States Army unit that fought on the Western Front during World War I.
The Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces was the mechanized unit that engaged in tank warfare for the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) on the Western Front during World War I.
The 103d Aero Squadron was an aviation pursuit squadron of the U.S. Air Service that served in combat in France during World War I. Its original complement included pilots from the disbanded Lafayette Escadrille and Lafayette Flying Corps. One of those pilots, Paul F. Baer, became the first ace of an American unit in World War I.
This is the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front order of battle. The American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) consisted of the United States Armed Forces that were sent to Europe in World War I to support the Allied cause against the Central Powers. During the United States campaigns in World War I the AEF fought in France alongside French and British allied forces in the last year of the war, against Imperial German forces. Some of the troops fought alongside Italian forces in that same year, against Austro-Hungarian forces. Late in the war American units also fought in Siberia and North Russia.