The Aisne-Marne American Cemetery. Image courtesy of www.marforeur.marines.mil via Google Images.

The Battle for Belleau Wood and the Legend of Devil Dogs

Marines’ First Crucible: Belleau Wood

 

The Battle for Belleau Wood by Frank Schoonover. Image courtesy of www.mca-marines.org via Google Images.
The Battle for Belleau Wood by Frank Schoonover. Image courtesy of http://www.mca-marines.org via Google Images.

Written By Linda D. Kozaryn
Click Here For Original Article: American Forces Press Service 

BELLEAU, France, June 18, 1998 – For military historians and battlefield buffs, the wheat fields and farm villages here are rich in the details of heroic attacks, untold sacrifices and ultimate victory. For others, especially the U.S. Marine Corps, this is hallowed ground, a sacred place of pilgrimage.

American, French and German military men and women come here to honor fallen brethren. They also come so that those who fought and died live on in the hearts and minds of those who follow.

Silently, they visit the American cemetery, where white crosses and Stars of David mark 2,289 graves, 250 for unknown service members, and the names of 1,060 missing men adorn the wall of a memorial chapel. They also visit a nearby German cemetery where 8,625 men are buried; 4,321 of them — 3,847 unknown — rest in a common grave. In death, friend and foe are honored alike for their courage.

Little has changed in the 80 years since 8,000 U.S. Marines, hundreds of Army soldiers and a handful of Navy medical corpsmen fought a prolonged battle to halt the Germans’ advance toward Paris, a mere 30 miles away. It was here, in a former hunting preserve named Belleau Wood, that they faced what Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Charles C. Krulak considers the Marines’ first crucible.

“The flower of America’s youth fought and bled to wrest this wood from the Germans,” Krulak said at a May 31 memorial service marking the battle’s 80th anniversary. The commandant and French dignitaries addressed 250 active duty U.S. Marines stationed in Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, and several hundred French visitors at the cemetery at the edge of Belleau Wood.

Today, nestled among rolling fields, the 200-acre, 1.5- mile-long wood remains untouched. Sunlight filters through thick greenery, barely reaching the dark forest floor. Visitors pay homage to “Iron Mike,” a faceless bronze statue in the heart of the wood.

Outside the forest, crops flourish under warm summer sun. Villages stand as they did then, stone monuments to an unchanging agrarian life. Spent brass rifle shells and a lone artillery round rest on a shelf behind the bar in a rustic cafe.

War shattered this peaceful countryside in June 1918. Artillery rounds sheared tree trunks, rending the still forest with the cracking thunder of war. Americans fought desperately using artillery, machine guns, rifles, bayonets, grenades, pistols and trench knives. Nearly 700 Americans died. Another 7,300 were wounded.

France, with the help of the United States, had formed a last line of defense along the Marne River near Chateau Thierry. The U.S. 4th Marine Brigade, made up of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments, was in the center with the French 167th Division on its left and U.S. Army 3rd Brigade to the right. The advancing German spearhead struck the Marine brigade near Belleau Wood on June 4.

New to Europe and the First World War, the combat-ready Marines encountered retreating, battle-worn veteran French troops, who predicted only doom. Turn back, the French advised.

“Retreat, hell. We just got here,” responded Marine Capt. Lloyd Williams of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. Untried, but soon to prove their mettle, the Marines surged through a hail of machine gun fire to take Hill 142 on June 6.

During a series of attacks and counterattacks on the way to the wood and in nearby villages, the Americans prevailed despite confusion and poor communications. Expert marksmen surprised German foes, hitting their targets from hundreds of yards away. Individual Marines charged German machine gun nests. When officers fell, sergeants took the lead. When sergeants fell, corporals led the way. When corporals fell, privates fought on.

The Marine Corps lost more men on June 6 than it had in all the rest of its history. The 4th Brigade suffered 31 officer casualties and 1,056 enlisted — of those numbers, six officers and 222 enlisted men were killed or later died of wounds.

Only by walking the battlefield can one truly appreciate what happened at Belleau Wood, Krulak said. Walk among the rows of crosses and stars, among the wheat fields and trees of Belleau Wood. Krulak said he took his first walk a year ago, starting near the town of Lucy-le-Bocage, where the World War I Marines launched their attack June 6.

“I walked toward the tree line through waist-high wheat, just as they did 80 years ago,” the commandant said. “History books describe that 800-yard advance, but I never fully appreciated it until I walked it myself. The Germans had every square inch of that field covered by machine gun and artillery fire. The Marines paid dearly with every step they took.”

Within Belleau Wood, Krulak said, he saw the grossly distorted, misshapen trees that today bear testament to the carnage. “It took them 20 days to go through that forest — 20 days of little sleep, little food, poison gas, machine gun fire, artillery, loneliness and death,” Krulak said. “In those 20 days they beat back five German counterattacks, fighting off more than four divisions of crack German troops. They did it with their rifles, their bayonets and sometimes with their fists.”

What remained of the 4th Marine Brigade emerged victorious from Belleau Wood on June 26. The battle marked a turning point in the war: The American victory rekindled hope among war-weary Europeans and destroyed German confidence.

Belleau Wood was dedicated as an American battle monument in July 1923. Army Gen. James. G. Harbord, the 4th Marine Brigade commander during the battle, was made an honorary Marine. In his address, he predicted the attraction future military men and women would feel for the site.

“Now and then, a veteran … will come here to live again the brave days of that distant June,” Harbord said. “Here will be raised the altars of patriotism; here will be renewed the vows of sacrifice and consecration to country. Hither will come our countrymen in hours of depression, and even of failure, and take new courage from this shrine of great deeds.”

Devil Dog Fountain WWI Marine Memorial at Belleau Wood. Image courtesy of www.tripadvisor.co.uk via google images
Devil Dog Fountain WWI Marine Memorial at Belleau Wood. Image courtesy of http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk via google images
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Mystery: infected epidemiologist had no contact with patients, as 3rd doctor dies from Ebola in Sierra Leone

Originally posted on The Extinction Protocol :

August 2014AFRICA – A third top doctor has died from Ebola in Sierra Leone, a government official said Wednesday, as health workers tried to determine how a fourth scientist also contracted the disease before being evacuated to Europe. The announcements raised worries about Sierra Leone’s fight against Ebola, which already has killed more than 1,400 people across West Africa. The World Health Organization said it was sending a team to investigate how the epidemiologist now undergoing treatment in Germany may have contracted the disease that kills more than half its victims. “The international surge of health workers is extremely important and if something happens, if health workers get infected and it scares off other international health workers from coming, we will be in dire straits,” said Christy Feig, director of WHO communications. Dr. Sahr Rogers had been working at a hospital in the eastern town of…

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Olathe Fire Departments helps 100 area football players take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Originally posted on fox4kc.com:

OLATHE, Kan. — You’ve seen the countless videos of people pouring buckets of ice water on their heads. But, are people donating? The ALS Association says yes!

The organization said Saturday that it had raised $62.5 million dollars compared to just $2.4 million dollars during the same time period last year. That’s 26 times the amount of money. And, the organization credits the boost to the continued popularity of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Saturday morning the Olathe Northwest High School Football Team accepted a challenge made by a player’s aunt on television for the entire team to get soaked at once. The challenge comes from a meteorologist at FOX 4’s sister station in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to her nephew, senior football player Manny Psihountas.

With the help of the Olathe Fire Department more than 100 players on the team got drenched by a fire hose.

“Oh it was awesome especially after…

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More Than 100 Health Workers Fighting Ebola Have Contracted It Themselves

Originally posted on wchildblog:

Source: End Of The American Dream, by Michael Snyder

Something is different this time.  This is the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history, and this particular strain appears to be spreading much more easily than others have.  So far, 1,323 people have been infected in the nations of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.  Of those 1,323 victims, a whopping 729 of them have died.  But a number that is even more alarming was buried in the middle of a Reuters report on Friday.  According to Reuters, “more than 100 health workers” that have been fighting Ebola in Africa have contracted the virus themselves.  Considering the extraordinary measures that these health workers take to keep from getting the disease, that is quite chilling.  We are not just talking about one or two “accidents”.  We are talking about more than 100 of them getting sick.  If Ebola is spreading…

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Two more mysterious holes have opened up in Siberia, and scientists have no idea what’s causing them

emery myers:

This is bizarre!!!

Originally posted on The Extinction Protocol :

July 2014RUSSIA– Two more mysterious holes have opened up in Siberia after the original crater appeared in the Yamal Peninsula earlier this month. “Yamal” is a name that literally translates to “end of the land.” Both new craters were discovered by reindeer herders, who thankfully didn’t fall the estimated 300 feet to the bottom. In case the thought of bottomless black holes isn’t already conjuring up images of an apocalyptic doomsday, then here are some videos and pictures to ensure you don’t sleep at all tonight. What are they, and why are portions of Siberia now beginning to collapse in huge holes?
Scientists are still unsure as to what exactly is causing their appearance. Theories range from meteorites to stray missiles, a man-made prank or even aliens. However, The Siberian Times reports that the most common belief is that they’re the result of “melting permafrost due to…

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