Aisne 27 May - 5 June 1918. The next major German attack fell on 27 May on the thinly held but formidable terrain along the Aisne River known as the Chemin des Dames. The original objective of this new offensive was to draw southward the Allied reserves accumulated back of the British sector, in preparation for a final German attempt to destroy the British Army in Flanders. The French and British defenders were taken completely by surprise, and their positions were overrun rapidly on a forty-mile front. German progress on the first day was so rapid (advances up to 13 miles were made at some points) that Ludendorff altered his plans and decided to make the diversionary attack a main effort. Most of the Aisne bridges were captured intact. The thrust toward Rheims failed but Soissons was taken, and by 31 May the Germans had reached the outskirts of Chateau-Thierry on the Marne, less than 40 miles from Paris.
In the next few days the Germans sought to exploit and expand the deep and exposed salient which they had established. But by 4 June they had been stopped everywhere. Some 27,500 American troops took part in the check of the German advance. The 3d Division foiled enemy attempts in the period 1-4 June to secure a firm bridgehead across the Marne at Chateau-Thierry. West of the town the 2d Division, which included a Marine brigade, defended the road to Paris, and on 6 June successfully counterattacked in Belleau Wood.