The Presidential Unit Citation may be awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and cobelligerent nations for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy occurring on or aft
... Moreer December 7, 1941. Hide
Upon assuming the post of chief executive of the CPA in May 2003, L. Paul Bremer also assumed the title of U.S. Presidential Envoy and Administrator in Iraq. He was frequently called Ambassador by num
... Moreerous media organizations and the White House because it was the highest government rank he had achieved (Ambassador to Netherlands). However, Bremer was not ambassador to Iraq, and there was no U.S. diplomatic mission in Iraq at that time.
The CPA was created and funded as a division of the United States Department of Defense, and as Administrator, Bremer reported directly to the Secretary of Defense. Although troops from several of the coalition countries were present in Iraq at this time, the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) was the primary military apparatus charged with providing direct combat support to the CPA to enforce its authority during the occupation of Iraq.
While many of Saddam Hussein's ornate palaces were looted in the days immediately following the invasion, most of the physical structures themselves survived, relatively intact. It is in these numerous palaces situated throughout the country that the CPA chose to set up office in order to govern. Several of these palaces were retained by the U.S. Government even after the transition of power back to the Iraqi people. The administration was centred in a district of Baghdad, known as the Green Zone, which eventually became a highly secure walled-off enclave.
The CPA was also responsible for administering the Development Fund for Iraq during the year following the invasion. This fund superseded the earlier UN oil-for-food program, and provided funding for Iraq's wheat purchase program, the currency exchange program, the electricity and oil infrastructure programs, equipment for Iraq's security forces, Iraqi civil service salaries, and the operations of the various government ministries.
The first act of the CPA under Bremer was to issue order of de-Ba'athification of Iraqi society. On 23 May, CPA Order Number 2 formally disbanded the Iraqi army On 22 July 2003, the CPA formed the Iraqi Governing Council and appointed its members. The Council membership consisted largely of Iraqi expatriates who had previously fled the country during the rule of Saddam Hussein and also with many outspoken dissidents who had been persecuted by the former regime.
Though still subordinate to the CPA, the Iraqi Governing Council had several key responsibilities of its own. Its duties included appointing representatives to the United Nations, appointing interim ministers to Iraq's vacant cabinet positions, and drafting a temporary constitution known as the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), which would be used to govern Iraq until a permanent constitution could be written and approved by the general electorate.
In the late afternoon of 14 December 2003, the CPA held a press conference at the Iraqi Forum convention center within Baghdad's Green Zone to announce that former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein had been taken into custody the previous night from a foxhole in a town near Saddam's home town of Tikrit, Iraq. Present at the announcement was Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez of the U.S. Army, Administrator Bremer, members of the British and American intelligence agencies, several members of the Iraqi Governing Council, and a large room full of journalists representing news organizations from around the world.
In order to defeat possible insurgent planning, the CPA transferred power to the newly appointed Iraqi Interim Government at 10:26 AM local time on 28 June 2004. With the CPA disbanded, Bremer left Iraq that same day.
The United States hoped that Iraq could be reconstructed and democratized in much the same way as Japan and Germany were after the Second World War, using them as "examples or even models of successful military occupations."
Fall of Saddam Hussein's regime
Statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled in Baghdad's Firdos Square on 9 April 2003.
On 1 May 2003, President Bush declared the "end of major combat operations" in Iraq, while aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln with a large "Mission Accomplished" banner displayed behind him.
The weeks following the removal of the Saddam Hussein regime were portrayed by American media as generally a euphoric time among the Iraqi populace. New York Post correspondent Jonathan Foreman, reporting from Baghdad in May 2003, wrote that looting was less widespread than reported, and that "the intensity of the population's pro-American enthusiasm is astonishing". There were widespread reports of looting, though much of the looting was directed at former government buildings and other remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime.
There were reports of looting of Iraq's archaeological treasures, mostly from the National Museum of Iraq; up to an alleged 170,000 items, worth billions of U.S. dollars: these reports were later revealed to be vastly exaggerated. Cities, especially Baghdad, suffered through reductions in electricity, clean water and telephone service from pre-war levels, with shortages that continued through at least the next year.
Canal Hotel Bombing
In the summer of 2003, the U.S. military focused on hunting down the remaining leaders of the former regime, culminating in the killing of Saddam's sons Uday Hussein and Qusay Hussein on 22 July. In all, over 200 top leaders of the former regime were killed or captured, as well as numerous lesser functionaries and military personnel.
However, even as the Ba'ath party organization disintegrated, elements of the secret police and army began forming guerilla units, since in many cases they had simply gone home rather than openly fight the invading forces. These began to focus their attacks around Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah. In the fall, these units and other elements who called themselves Jihadists began using ambush tactics, suicide bombings, and improvised explosive devices, targeting coalition forces and checkpoints.
They favored attacking the unarmored Humvee vehicles, and in November they successfully attacked U.S. rotary aircraft with SA-7 missiles bought on the global black market. On 19 August, the UN Headquarters in Baghdad was destroyed in the Canal Hotel Bombing, killing at least 22 people, among them Sérgio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.
Saddam captured and elections urged
Saddam Hussein shortly after capture by American forces, and after being shaved to confirm his identity
In December 2003, Saddam himself was captured. The provisional government began training a security force intended to defend critical infrastructure, and the U.S. promised over $20 billion in reconstruction aid in the form of credits against Iraq's future oil revenues. At the same time, elements left out of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance (IPA) began to agitate for elections. Most prominent among these was Ali al-Sistani, Grand Ayatollah in the Shia sect of Islam.
The United States and the Coalition Provisional Authority, run by Jay Garner and three deputies, including Tim Cross, opposed allowing democratic elections at this time, preferring instead to eventually hand over power to an unelected group of Iraqis. More insurgents stepped up their activities. The two most turbulent centers were the area around Fallujah and the poor Shia sections of cities from Baghdad to Basra in the south.
In the spring, the United States and the Coalition Provisional Authority decided to confront the rebels with a pair of assaults: one on Fallujah, the center of the "Mohammed's Army of Al-Ansar", and another on Najaf, home of an important mosque, which had become the focal point for the Mahdi Army and its activities. In Fallujah four private security contractors, working for Blackwater USA, were ambushed and killed, and their corpses desecrated. In retaliation a U.S. offensive was begun, but it was soon halted because of the protests by the Iraqi Governing Council and negative media coverage.
A truce was negotiated that put a former Ba'athist general in complete charge of the town. The 1st Armored Division along with the 2nd ACR were then shifted south, because Spanish, Salvadoran, Ukrainian, and Polish forces were having increasing difficulties retaining control over Al Kut, and Najaf. The 1st Armored Division and 2nd ACR relieved the Spaniards, Salvadoran, Poles, and put down the overt rebellion.
At the same time, British forces in Basra were faced with increasing restiveness, and became more selective in the areas they patrolled. In all, April, May and early June represented the bloodiest months of fighting since the end of hostilities. The Iraqi troops who were left in charge of Fallujah after the truce began to disperse and the city fell back under insurgent control.
In the April battle for Fallujah, U.S. troops killed about 200 resistance fighters, while 40 Americans died and hundreds were wounded in a fierce battle. U.S. forces then turned their attention to the al Mahdi Army in Najaf. A large convoy of US Army supply trucks manned by civilian contractors was ambushed and suffered significant damage and casualties. Hide
The 2003 invasion of Iraq lasted from 19 March to 1 May 2003 and signaled the start of the conflict that later came to be known as the Iraq War, which was dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom by the United
... MoreStates (prior to 19 March, the mission in Iraq was called Operation Enduring Freedom, a carryover from the conflict in Afghanistan). The invasion consisted of 21 days of major combat operations, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and deposed the Ba'athist government of Saddam Hussein. The invasion phase consisted primarily of a conventionally fought war which concluded with the capture of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad by American forces.
Four countries participated with troops during the initial invasion phase, which lasted from 19 March to 9 April 2003. These were the United States (148,000), United Kingdom (45,000), Australia (2,000), and Poland (194). 36 other countries were involved in its aftermath. In preparation for the invasion, 100,000 U.S. troops were assembled in Kuwait by 18 February. The coalition forces also received support from Kurdish irregulars in Iraqi Kurdistan.
According to U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the coalition mission was "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people." General Wesley Clark, the former Supreme NATO Allied Commander and Joint Chiefs of Staff Director of Strategy and Policy, describes in his 2003 book, Winning Modern Wars, his conversation with a military officer in the Pentagon shortly after 9/11 regarding a plan to attack seven Middle Eastern countries in five years: "As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan." Others place a much greater emphasis on the impact of the 11 September 2001 attacks, and the role this played in changing U.S. strategic calculations, and the rise of the freedom agenda. According to Blair, the trigger was Iraq's failure to take a "final opportunity" to disarm itself of alleged nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that U.S. and British officials called an immediate and intolerable threat to world peace.
In a January 2003 CBS poll, 64% of Americans had approved of military action against Iraq; however, 63% wanted Bush to find a diplomatic solution rather than go to war, and 62% believed the threat of terrorism directed against the U.S. would increase due to war. The invasion of Iraq was strongly opposed by some long-standing U.S. allies, including the governments of France, Germany, and New Zealand. Their leaders argued that there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that invading the country was not justified in the context of UNMOVIC's 12 February 2003 report. On 15 February 2003, a month before the invasion, there were worldwide protests against the Iraq War, including a rally of three million people in Rome, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ever anti-war rally. According to the French academic Dominique Reynié, between 3 January and 12 April 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 protests against the Iraq war.
The invasion was preceded by an air strike on the Presidential Palace in Baghdad on 19 March 2003. The following day, coalition forces launched an incursion into Basra Province from their massing point close to the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border. While the special forces launched an amphibious assault from the Persian Gulf to secure Basra and the surrounding petroleum fields, the main invasion army moved into southern Iraq, occupying the region and engaging in the Battle of Nasiriyah on 23 March. Massive air strikes across the country and against Iraqi command and control threw the defending army into chaos and prevented an effective resistance. On 26 March, the 173rd Airborne Brigade was airdropped near the northern city of Kirkuk, where they joined forces with Kurdish rebels and fought several actions against the Iraqi army to secure the northern part of the country.
The main body of coalition forces continued their drive into the heart of Iraq and met with little resistance. Most of the Iraqi military was quickly defeated and Baghdad was occupied on 9 April. Other operations occurred against pockets of the Iraqi army including the capture and occupation of Kirkuk on 10 April, and the attack and capture of Tikrit on 15 April. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the central leadership went into hiding as the coalition forces completed the occupation of the country. On 1 May, an end of major combat operations was declared, ending the invasion period and beginning the military occupation period. Hide
The Superior Unit Award may be awarded during peacetime for outstanding meritorious performance of a difficult and challenging mission carried out under extraordinary circumstances. The unit must disp
... Morelay such outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks as to set it apart from and above other units with similar missions. The award is not given for operations of a purely humanitarian nature. Hide
The Cross of Valour is the second highest (and until 1974 the highest) military decoration of the Greek state, awarded for acts of bravery or distinguished leadership on the field of battle. It has be
... Moreen instituted three times, first on 13 May 1913 during the Balkan Wars but not issued until 1921 during the Greco-Turkish War of 1919�1922, then on 11 November 1940 shortly after the outbreak of the Greco-Italian War and finally in 1974. Hide
Third Korean Winter, 1 December 1952 - 30 April 1953. Meanwhile the armistice talks had stalled. Discord over several issues, but principally the exchange of prisoners of war, had prevente
... Mored any agreement in the latter part of 1951. This disagreement was heightened in January 1952. The U.N. delegates proposed to give captives a choice of repatriation, so that those who did not wish to return to Communist control could be repatriated elsewhere. The enemy delegates protested vigorously, insisting that all captives held by the Eighth Army be returned to their side. When the enemy failed to respond to U.N. efforts to settle the question, the U.N. delegation on 7 October called an indefinite recess in the armistice negotiations. Both military operations and armistice talks remained stalemated and, as the year 1952 ended, peace prospects seemed as remote as at its beginning.
Korea, Summer 1953, 1 May - 27 July 1953. There was little activity anywhere along the front as 1953 began. Then, as spring approached, the enemy renewed his attacks against the Eighth Arm
... Morey 's outpost line. By July these attacks had increased in frequency and intensity until they were nearly as heavy as those of May 1951.
In January 1953 Van Fleet had twelve South Korean and eight U.N. divisions to defend the army front. Total strength of combat, service, and security troops was nearly 768,000. Opposing the U.N. forces were seven Chinese armies and two North Korean corps, totaling about 270, 000 troops. Another 531,000 Chinese and North Korean troops remained in reserve. With service and security forces, total enemy strength in Korea was estimated at more than a million men.
Other than a few patrol clashes, little fighting occurred during January and February 1953. On 11 February Lt. Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor took command of the Eighth Army as Van Fleet returned to the United States for retirement. The enemy increased his attacks during March, striking at outposts of the 2d and 7th Divisions and the 1st Marine Regiment. During the period 9-10 March the Chinese were successful in ambushing several U.N. patrols, inflicting heavy casualties in each instance. After these flare-ups the front quieted down until late May, when the enemy struck at the outposts of the U.S. 25th Division that were guarding the approaches to the Eighth Army's western positions. Although the enemy was successful in occupying three of the division outposts, he suffered nearly 3,200 casualties.
On the night of 10 June three Chinese divisions struck the ROK II Corps in the vicinity of Kumsong, attacking down both sides of the Pukhan River. Several attacks forced these units to withdraw about two miles. Both sides lost heavily; the Chinese suffered about 6,000 casualties and the ROK units about 7,400. By 18 June the attacks had subsided. By the end of the month, action along the entire front had returned to routine patrolling and light attacks.
Operation LITTLE SWITCH, an exchange of Allied and Communist sick and wounded prisoners, began on 20 April. When it was completed in the latter part of the month, 684 Allied prisoners had been exchanged for more than 6,000 Communists.
Armistice negotiations were resumed in April. The prisoner-of-war question was settled by providing each side an opportunity to persuade those captives who refused repatriation to their homeland to change their minds. By 18 June the terms of the armistice were all but complete; but on this date President Syngman Rhee ordered the release of 27,000 anti-Communist North Korean prisoners of war unilaterally, in protest against armistice terms which left Korea divided. U.N. officials disclaimed any responsibility for this action; but the enemy delegates denounced it as a serious breach of faith and delayed the final armistice agreement for another month. Enemy forces took advantage of this delay. On 13 July the Chinese launched a three-division attack against the left flank of the ROK II Corps and a one-division attack against the right flank of the U.S. IX Corps, forcing U.N. forces to withdraw about eight miles to positions below the Kumsong River. By 20 July, however, U.N. forces had counterattacked, retaken the high ground along the Kumsong River, and established a new main line of resistance. No attempt was made to restore the original line, as it was believed that the armistice would be signed at any time. Enemy casualties in July totaled about 72,000 men. Out of the five Chinese armies that had been identified in the attacks, the enemy had lost the equivalent of seven divisions.
By 19 July the negotiators at Panmunjom had reached an accord on all points. Details were worked out within a week and the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed at 1000 hours 27 July 1953.
The Meritorious Unit Commendation is awarded to units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six continuous months during a period of military operat
... Moreions against an armed enemy on or after January 1, 1944. Hide
As 1951 drew to a close, a lull had settled over the battlefield. Fighting tapered off to a routine of patrol clashes, raids, and bitter small-unit struggles for key outpost positions. The lull result
... Moreed from Ridgway's decision to halt offensive operations in Korea, because the cost of major assaults on the enemy's defenses would be more than the results could justify. Furthermore, the possibility of an armistice agreement emerging from the recently reopened talks ruled out the mounting of any large-scale offensive by either side. On 21 November Ridgway ordered the Eighth Army to cease offensive operations and begin an active defense of its front. Attacks were limited to those necessary to strengthen the main line of resistance and to establish an adequate outpost line.
In the third week of December the U.S. 45th Division, the first National Guard division to fight in Korea, replaced the 1st Cavalry Division in the I Corps sector north of Seoul. The 1st Cavalry Division returned to Japan.
In the air, U.N. bombers and fighter-bombers continued the interdiction campaign (Operation STRANGLE, which the Far East Air Forces had begun on 15 August 1951) against railroad tracks, bridges, and highway traffic. At sea, naval units of nine nations tightened their blockade around the coastline of North Korea. Carrier-based planes blasted railroads, bridges, and boxcars, and destroyers bombarded enemy gun emplacements and supply depots. On the ground, the 155-mile front remained generally quiet in the opening days of 1952. Later in January the Eighth Army opened a month-long artillery-air campaign against enemy positions, which forced the enemy to dig in deeply. During March and April Van Fleet shifted his units along the front to give the ROK Army a greater share in defending the battle line and to concentrate American fire power in the vulnerable western sector. Hide
In May the enemy became bolder, increasing his probing attacks and patrols, intensifying his artillery fire, and aggressively interrupting U.N. patrols. In May 1952 an estimated total of 102,000 artil
... Morelery and mortar rounds fell in Eighth Army positions.
As a result of increased Chinese ground action in the 45th Division sector, the division planned an operation to establish eleven patrol bases across its front. Operation COUNTER began on 6 June. By the 7th, ten of the eleven objectives had been taken. The last one (Hi11 191, eight miles west of Ch'orwon) was captured after a 48-hour battle on 14 June. The Chinese immediately launched counterattacks along the entire division front, climaxing their efforts on the night of 28-29 June with an unsuccessful 4-hour attack. The division sustained over 1,000 casualties during the month of June; Chinese losses were estimated at more than 5,000.
Throughout the first half of 1952, the U.N. forces waged a. war of containment. The frontline soldier, meanwhile, hoped that the armistice negotiators would soon reach an agreement.
As the Korean War went into its third year, in June 1952, the deadlock continued. July began with a series of small-scale attacks by both sides. Torrential rains restricted activity in the last week of July and through most of August. For some time the enemy had gradually increased the volume of mortar and artillery fire in support of his attacks, and in September fired a total of 45,000 rounds against the Eighth Army's front.
During the summer of 1952 the air war over Korea intensified. In addition to striking at supply centers, troop concentrations, power plants, factories, and rail and road networks, U.N. aircraft rendered valuable assistance to frontline troops by bombing, or searing with napalm, enemy bunkers, trenches, gun positions, and communications lines. On 29 August the largest U.N. air raid of the Korean War was carried out on P'yongyang, the North Korean capital. During the month of September alone the U.S. Fifth Air Force shot down 64 MIG-15's at a cost of seven Sabrejets.
A series of enemy attacks in October 1952 produced some of the heaviest fighting in more than a year. Most of it centered around two key heights, Hills 281 and 395, northwest of Ch'orwon. The attacks were opened on 6 October with the largest volume of mortar and artillery fire received by the Eighth Army during the war. By 15 October the disputed ground was held firmly by U.N. forces, and the enemy withdrew. Over 2,000 Chinese dead were counted on these two hills after the 10-day battle. Hide
On 1 November Chinese elements were identified south of the Changjin Reservoir, and within ten days twelve divisions of the Chinese Communist Forces were identified. In the northwest, strong enemy att
... Moreacks against the Eighth Army smashed the ROK divisions. Very hard fighting took place near Ch'osan, Unsan, and Tokch'on. While the 24th Division pulled back to Chongju on the west coast, the 1st Cavalry and 2d Divisions fought along the Ch'ongch'on River. In the air over Korea, U.N. pilots were opposed for the first time by speedy Russian MIG-15 Jet fighters.
By 10 November, as the Chinese attacks were abating, the Eighth Army and the X Corps conducted only small-scale operations, and a comparative lull hung over much of the front. By 21 November elements of the U.S. 7th Division occupied Hyesanjin on the Yalu River in northeastern Korea, the most northerly point to be reached by U.S. forces during the war. The ROK Capital Division meanwhile progressed rapidly up the east coast to the Naman-So-dong area. By 24 November the U.N. positions extended from So-dong in the northeast to Hyesanjin on the Yalu, and thence in a southwesterly direction through the areas around Sang-ni, Handae, Yudam-ni, Yongwen, Ipsok, Patch'on and south of Chongju to the Yellow Sea.
Previous to the entry of Chinese forces in North Korea, MacArthur had ordered the Eighth Army and the X Corps on 24 October to attack toward the Manchurian border and restore peace in Korea before the onset of winter. The difficulty of securing adequate logistical support delayed the attack. In the latter part of the month, brief clashes with Chinese troops posed a new threat. The purpose and extent of the Chinese intervention was not yet clear; but in the face of this new opposition, Walker had withdrawn his extended forces back to the lower bank of the Ch'onch'on River, leaving only a small bridgehead above Sinanju.
The fact of Chinese participation in the conflict caused MacArthur to reconsider his plans for an all-out attack to the Yalu River, but not to abandon them. Walker's forces were to move northward through western and central Korea, while Almond's troops were to attack to the northwest to cut the enemy line of communications and give maximum assistance to the Eighth Army. On 24 November the Eighth Army, with the ROK II Corps, launched its planned offensive. For the first twenty-four hours little enemy opposition was encountered, but on the next day enemy troops initiated a violent counterattack against the Eighth Army in the mountainous territory surrounding the central North Korean town of Tokch'on. The X Corps began its attack early on 27 November, and had made slight advances before evening, when a second enemy force, moving down both sides of the Changjin Reservoir, struck at the 1st Marine Division and elements of the U.S. 7th Division.
It was quickly apparent that the bulk of the enemy forces were organized Chinese Communist units. It was now evident to the UN Commend that the Chinese had amassed two large armies in northern Korea, by marching them from Manchuria under cover of darkness and expertly camouflaging them during the day. They were comparatively safe from detection by UN air observers in the rugged mountain terrain, and UN aircraft were prohibited from making reconnaissance flights across the frontier. Thus the strength of the attacking Chinese forces came as a surprise to most of the U.N. Command.
The main enemy effort was directed against the ROK II Corps, which collapsed under the weight of the Chinese assault. As the Communists strove to extend their breakthrough of the U.N. line, Walker rushed his reserve units (the 1st Cavalry Division, the Turkish Brigade, and the British 27th Commonwealth and 29th Independent Infantry Brigades) to the area, but failed to stem the Communist advance. Assaulted by wave after wave of enemy troops, the Eighth Army front withdrew south across the Ch'ongch'on River. These forces, fighting hand to hand with the enemy along the river banks and retreating over reads choked with troops, refugees, trucks, and tanks, suffered heavy losses. The U.S. 2d Division wee assigned to fight a delaying action until other units could retire and regroup in defensive positions near P'yongyang. On 5 December the Eighth Army fell back from P'yongyang to positions about 25 miles south of the city. By the middle of December it had withdrawn below the 38th parallel and formed a defensive perimeter north and east of Seoul.
On 27 November 1950 the Chinese began their offensive against the X Corps, attacking the Marine and 7th Division elements in the Changjin Reservoir area with six divisions. Since the most northerly UN units-the ROK I Corps, the U.S. 17th Infantry Regiment, and other elements at the Yalu-might be cut off by the weight of the Chinese offensive, the X Corps was forced to withdraw these elements. Troops at the reservoir were also ordered to fall back. MacArthur then ordered Almond to concentrate the X Corps in the Hamhung-Hungnam area; and early in December directed the Corps to withdraw to South Korea by a waterborne evacuation.
Most of the Corps reached the port of Hungnam without serious incident. However, some 14,000 men of the 1st Marine and 7th Infantry Divisions were trapped in the Hagaru-Kot'o area and were forced to fight their way to the coast along a narrow escape route. As the main column progressed along the road, a provisional battalion of marines and soldiers, aided by close and efficient air support, cleared the Chinese Communist forces from the high ground which dominated the road. Almond sent Task Force Dog, a reinforced battalion of the 3d Division, forward to Chinhung to relieve the Marine battalion there and to assist the withdrawal by providing support and rear guard action. Air Force, Navy, and Marine cargo planes parachuted daily airdrops of ammunition, food, and medicines to the column, and evacuated battle casualties. Fighter elements bombed and strafed the enemy-held mountainsides and Communist troop concentrations. On 9 December 1950 the two forces met in the mountains a few miles south of Kot'o and both moved toward Hamhung to be evacuated.
The water movement of the X Corps from North Korea required 173 vessels. About 350,000 measurement tons of cargo, including 17,500 vehicles, were salvaged; some 105,000 troops and more than 98,000 civilians were evacuated from Hungnam, Songjin, and Wonsan. Evacuation began on 11 December and was completed on 24 December, despite constant enemy fire and observation.
The Hungnam evacuation left North Korea once again controlled by Communist forces. Before the enemy renewed his attacks, General Walker was killed in an auto accident north of Seoul (23 December 1950). On 26 December Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway succeeded him in command of the Eighth Army in Korea.
On 30 December MacArthur warned the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff that the Chinese Communist forces could drive the U.N. forces out of Korea if they so desired. The United States, although anxious to avoid a full-scale war in Korea, was also determined to resist the Chinese-North Korean aggressors. Therefore the Joint Chiefs ordered MacArthur to defend his positions; to retire, if forced to, through a series of defensive positions as far back as the former Pusan Perimeter Line; to inflict as much damage as possible on the enemy; and to maintain his units intact. If necessary to avoid severe losses, he was authorized to withdraw to Japan.
Within this framework of operations, MacArthur invested General Ridgway with complete authority to plan and execute operations in Korea, and ceased the close supervision which he had formerly exercised over the Eighth Army and the X Corps. The latter, which had heretofore been a separate command, was assigned to the Eighth Army, thus placing all U.N. ground forces under that army's control. By this time fifteen nations of the U.N. had troops in Korea-the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, South Africa, France, Greece, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Belgium, and Sweden. As 1951 began, U.N. ground forces numbered about 495,000, of which 270,000 were ROK troops. The U.N. Command estimated that the enemy had about 486,000 men, 21 Chinese and 12 North Korean divisions, committed to the Korean front, and more than a million enemy troops stationed in reserve near the Yalu.
In late December, Ridgway, in establishing the defensive line along the 38th parallel, concentrated the bulk of the Eighth Army in the central and western sectors because of the obvious enemy concentration above Seoul. The west flank was held by the I Corps; the central sector by the IX Corps; and the ROK I, II, and III Corps held the eastern mountainous sector. The X Corps was reorganizing near Pusan. The 1st Marine Division, until recently a part of the X Corps, was held in Eighth Army reserve.
At daybreak on 1 January 1951, after a night of mortar and artillery bombardment, the enemy launched an attack all along the U.N. line. The main effort was directed against the U.S. I and IX Corps in the west and central sectors. A force of seven Chinese armies and two North Korean corps pushed deeply into the U.N. line toward Seoul in the west and Wonju in the center.
As the offensive gained momentum, Ridgway ordered the U.N. forces to fall back to a line which ran along the south bank of the frozen Han River to Yangp'yang, through Hongch'on and Chunmunjin to the Sea of Japan. A delaying force remained around Seoul to deny the enemy use of the Han River bridges. When the attacking forces, following up their initial success, crossed the Han to the east and west of Seoul, it became clear that the Seoul bridgehead could not be held any longer. Ridgway, following a policy of rolling with the punch rather then risking destruction by defending in place, decided to withdraw south to a line in the vicinity of the 37th parallel on 3 January. This line ran from P'yongt'aek, east through Ansong, northeast to Wonju, and in an irregular trace to the east coast town of Samch'ok. When Seoul fell on 4 January, the port of Inch'on was also evacuated.
After the fall of Seoul, Chinese attacks tapered off in the west. Many enemy units were shifted eastward so as to be in position to attack southwestward behind the U.S. I and IX Corps, and capture Wonju and the railroad and highway between Hongch'on and Pusan, the main U.N. north-south supply route. Wonju was abandoned by U.N. forces on 7 January. By 10 January large numbers of the enemy had phased through the gap and into the defensive zone of the ROK III Corps. To meet this threat Ridgway ordered the 1st Marine Division to prevent the enemy penetration from north of the Andong-Yongdok road on the east, and to protect the supply routes of the ROK units.
In the western sector, which was comparatively quiet, Ridgway planned Operation WOLFHOUND, a reconnaissance in force in the I Corps sector, to reestablish contact and secure more exact information about the enemy. On 15 January the task force-the 27th Infantry Regiment, reinforced-advanced northward along the Seoul highway toward Osan. On the 16th it reached Suwon with practically no opposition. Satisfied by the reconnaissance, the U.N. Command ordered the task force to withdraw south.
By the third week in January the situation in the central and eastern sectors had eased, and pressure on our troops was gradually decreasing. However, although quiet prevailed on the front, air reconnaissance revealed that the enemy was accumulating reserves of supplies and bringing up thousands of replacements. Hide
A reconnaissance in force by elements of the 1st Cavalry Division on 22 January revealed that the enemy had withdrawn from frontline positions. The task force returned after having met little resistan
... Morece. Ridgway then scheduled a larger reconnaissance in force, Operation THUNDERBOLT, with each Corps using one U.S. division and one ROK regiment. The operation began on 25 January and advanced slowly and cautiously against light resistance during the rest of the month. U.N. air support destroyed points of resistance and the enemy's lines of communication were subjected to damaging attacks, which kept a large part of his supplies from reaching the front. By 30 January his resistance stiffened and it continued to be vigorous until 9 February. Then it abruptly gave way. By 10 February U.N. forces secured Inch'on and Kimpo airfield, and the U.S. I Corps closed up to the south bank of the Han River.
On the central front, U.N. armored patrols reached the deserted city of Wonju and elements of the X Corps captured Hoengsong on 2 February against light resistance. On 5 February the X Corps began Operation ROUNDUP, a plan calling for ROK units of the Corps to disrupt the regrouping of North Korean forces south of the town of Hongch'on. On the second day of the attack the ROK units met stiffening resistance, and pressure on the X Corps increased steadily as signs pointed to a large enemy buildup on its front. On the night of 11-12 February, Chinese Communist forces struck the ROK divisions north of Hoengsong and made immediate penetrations which forced the ROK troops to fall back rapidly. U.N. troops withdrew south toward Wonju and abandoned Hoengsong on 13 February. On this same day enemy forces struck at Chip'yong-ni, a road junction and key point of the central zone. The U.S. 23d Infantry Regiment and the French Battalion, forming a defensive perimeter around the town, held off a force of three Chinese Communist divisions for three days before enemy pressure melted away. Meanwhile elements of the U.S. 7th Division and ROK units formed a defensive line north of Chech'on, to check a strong enemy force attacking northeast of Wonju.
In the west the U.S. I and IX Corps were gradually taking all ground in the zones up to the Han River, except for a sizeable enemy foothold south of the Han in an area between Seoul and Yangp'yong. On the night of 13-14 February the enemy launched a powerful counterattack from this area toward Suwon, but his effort was quickly contained with heavy losses to his troops. Meanwhile areas far to the south were being harassed by guerrilla and remnants of North Korean troops. U.N. counteractions succeeded in reducing these forces to about 18,000 by the end of February.
On 18 February combat patrols confirmed a report of the IX Corps that enemy forces along the entire central front were withdrawing. Thereupon Ridgway ordered the IX Corps to move forward, which it did against light scattered resistance. By 19 February the initiative all along the front had passed into U.N. hands.
Ridgway was determined to give the North Koreans and Chinese Communists neither rest nor opportunity to reorganize. On 21 February he launched a general advance (Operation KIILER) by the U.S. IX and X Corps to deny important positions to the enemy and to destroy as many enemy troops as could be found. The objective was a line running eastward from Yangp'yong to the Han River east of Seoul, thence to points north of Chip'yong-ni and Hwangsong-ni, and thence eastward so as to secure the east-west portion of the Wonju-Kangnung road between Wonju and Pangnimni.
Advances in both Corps zones were slow and unspectacular. The spring thaw and heavy rains caused swollen streams and deep mud which greatly hampered military operations. By 28 February the U.N. forces advanced to their assigned objectives, and the Communist foothold south of the Han collapsed. By 1 March the entire Eighth Army line was relatively stable.
Although the Eighth Army had attained its geographical objectives by 1 March, a large part of the enemy had succeeded in withdrawing during the bad weather which had disrupted Allied road and rail movement. With approval by MacArthur, Ridgway planned to continue the attack northward in the central and eastern sectors with Operation RIPPER, to seize Hongch'on and Ch'unch'on and a line designated IDAHO just south of the 38th parallel.
RIPPER began on 7 March 1951. After overcoming initial resistance, the IX Corps reached the first phase line on 11 March and began the attack to the second phase line on the 14th. U.N. patrols moved into the deserted city of Seoul on the night of 14-15 March, marking the fourth time that the capital had changed hands. In the X Corps zone, terrain rather than hostile forces proved to be the greatest obstacle; but despite the enemy and natural obstacles Operation RIPPER ground forward. In the east, ROK units were ordered to destroy the remnants of a North Korean division which had infiltrated southward in January. By 17 March, with this threat eliminated, the ROK forces had moved to Line IDAHO. UN forces entered Ch'unch'on, an enemy supply and communications center, on 19 March.
On 23 March the 187th Airborne RCT dropped at Munsan-ni, about 20 miles northwest of Seoul, to trap enemy troops fleeing northward; but because of the rapid enemy withdrawal it failed to achieve its purpose.
By the last of March Ridgway's forces had fought their way generally to the 38th parallel in position along line IDAHO. Again the U.N. Command was faced with the problem of crossing the parallel into North Korea.
Ridgway, with the approval of President Truman and MacArthur, elected to continue the advance, with the hope of achieving maximum destruction of enemy forces. U.N. commanders made their plans to advance with the knowledge that the enemy was engaged in a full-scale buildup of troops and materiel for his expected spring offensive.
On 5 April Ridgway opened Operation RUGGED, a general advance toward a new objective line called KANSAS. This line, running along the commanding ground north of the 38th parallel, was 115 miles long, including 14 miles of tidal water on the left flank and the 10-mile water barrier of the Hwach'on Dam in the center. By 9 April, the U.S. I and IX Corps and the ROK I Corps on the east coast had reached Line KANSAS, and the U.S. X and ROK III Corps in the central and central-east sectors were drawing up to it. The I and IX Corps continued to advance, attacking Ch'orwon, with the intention of seizing a line designated UTAH, an outward bulge of KANSAS, so as to be in a position to strike at the ''Iron Triangle."
On 11 April President Truman relieved General MacArthur of all his commands because of differences over national policy and military strategy, and replaced him with General Ridgway. Lt. Gen. James A. Van Fleet assumed command of the Eighth Army on 14 April, replacing Ridgway.
Meanwhile U.N. forces continued to edge forward. The Hwach'on Dam was taken on 16 April. On the east coast South Korean forces captured Taep'o-ri. Other ROK troops north of Seoul sent patrols across the Imjin River and far to the northeast. By 17 April U.N. units could not make contact with the enemy, and thereafter the general advance toward Line UTAH was virtually unopposed. Even as it continued, however, evidences of enemy preparations for a counterattack were apparent to the Eighth Army Command. By 19 April all U.S. I and IX Corps units were in positions Along Line UTAH, preparing for an advance to a new Line WYOMING. Hide
On 22 April enemy activity across the whole front suddenly increased and the U.N. advance halted abruptly. The expected spring offensive was at hand.
Following a four-
... Morehour artillery bombardment, three Chinese Communist armies attacked the U.N. line in the evening hours of 22 April. The main attack was against the U.S. I and IX Corps in the Seoul sector, coupled with a secondary thrust in the central Yonch'on-Hwach'on area and a p w h in the seat near Inje. U.N. lines held firm except in the IX Corps central sector, where ROK units were forced back in confusion. With the line broken, Van Fleet ordered the I and IX Corps to withdraw through a series of delaying positions to Line KANSAS, thus giving up the ground gained in recent U.N. offensives. When the enemy cut the Seoul-Kaesong highway on 26 April, Van Fleet withdrew the IX Corps back to the Hongch'on River.
Meanwhile, in the I Corps area, the enemy crossed the Imjin River on 22 April and drove the ROK unite south of the KANSAS Line on the 23d. On 27 April the enemy outflanked Uijongbu, forcing U.N. units to pulls back to within four miles of Seoul, and also made an unsuccessful attempt to outflank the city to the east. On the east-central front North Koreans captured Inje. By 29 April, however, their drive had been halted. On this date Van Fleet established a new line, designated NONAME-LINE, extending from north of Seoul to Sabangue and thence northeast across the 38th parallel to Taepo-ri on the east coast. Because the major enemy attack had been in the west, Van Fleet reshuffled his units to put more American divisions there. By the end of April, U.N. forces had stopped the enemy short of Seoul and the Han and held a strong, continuous defense line.
As the enemy withdrew to recoup losses, Van Fleet improved his defenses on NO-NAME-LINE and planned an offensive to carry the Eighth Army back to Line KANSAS; but signs of another impending enemy attack led him to postpone it.
On the night of 15-16 May an estimated 21 Chinese divisions, flanked by 3 North Korean divisions in the west and 6 in the east, struck in the central sector against the U.S. X and the ROK III Corps in the Naep'yong-ni-No-dong area. ROK units were again forced back by the swarming columns of Chinese and North Koreans. Once more Van Fleet reshuffled his units, moved in reserves, and laid down a tremendous curtain of artillery fire which exacted heavy casualties and stopped the enemy offensive.
On 17 May the enemy struck down the Pukhan River toward the Han in the western sector, against the I and IX Corps, with a force of about 250,000 men. This attack was also contained after three days of violent action. By 20 May U.N. troops brought the enemy to a standstill, having thus stopped two major offensives in two months.
Van Fleet decided to renew the offensive, so as to give the enemy no chance to gather himself for another counterstrike. On 18 May he opened a series of local attacks. Once more enemy forces pulled back and U.N. forces moved forward against light resistance. Within a few days the I Corps reached the Imjin River north of Munsan-ni and entered Uijongbu and Sinp'al-li. The IX Corps pushed toward Kap'yong, drove the enemy across the Hanch'on River, and moved toward the Hwach'on Reservoir. In the X Corps area the 1st Marine Division attacked Yanggu on 24 May. The 187th RCT headed for Inje, which it captured on the 27th. The Marines were pushing toward the Hwach' on Reservoir and Yanggu. The 7th Division of the I Corps took Hwach'on. By 31 May the U.N. forces scored a significant advance which brought them just about back to the KANSAS Line, and South Korea was virtually cleared of the enemy.
At this point the Joint Chiefs of Staff prescribed that the Eighth Army was not to go beyond the general vicinity of Line KANSAS. The only tactical operations permitted were those necessary to protect itself, to maintain contact, and to harass the enemy. This was the basic pattern of U.N. military operations which was to be followed throughout the remainder of the war.
On 1 June, therefore, Van Fleet ordered his reserve forces to strengthen KANSAS so as to make it virtually impregnable. Meanwhile the I and IX Corps were to continue Operation PILEDRIVER toward Line WYOMING (the bulge north of KANSAS that ran from the Imjin River to points just south of Ch'orwon and Kumhwa and thence southeast). Ch'orwon and Kumhwa were captured on 11 June. Two tank-infantry task fences reached P'yongyang, the northern tip of the Iron Triangle, on 13 June and found it deserted. The dominating high ground north of the city was held by the enemy, however, and U.N. forces withdrew. The Chinese reoccupied P'yongyang on 17 June. Meanwhile the X Corps on the east-central front pushed through mountains toward its sector of the KANSAS Line, which extended over a series of ridges from the Hwach'on Reservoir northeastward to the lower lip of the "Punchbowl," an aptly named circular depression north of Inje. Thus by mid-June the Eighth Army had attained the principal terrain objectives of Operation PILEDRIVER. Action for the rest of the month was confined to developing the KANSAS and WYOMING Lines, and to patrolling and local clashes.
On 23 June 1951 Jacob Malik, Deputy Foreign Minister of the U.S.S.R., made a statement in a recorded broadcast in New York implying Chinese and North Korean willingness to discuss armistic
... Moree terms to end the Korean War. When Communist China indicated that it also desired peace, President Truman authorized General Ridgway to arrange for an armistice conference with the North Korean commander. Both aides agreed to begin negotiations at Kaesong on 10 July 1951. The chief delegate for the U.N. at the conference was Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy. The enemy delegation was led by Lt. Gen. Nam Il.
It was agreed at the first meeting that military operations would continue until an armistice agreement was signed. However, neither aide was willing to start any large-scale offensive while peace talks were in progress. U.N. military action in this period was limited to combat patrolling, artillery and air bombardment, and the repulsing of enemy attacks.
In August of 1951 the strength of all U.N. ground forces under Eighth Army command totaled 549,224. This included 248,320 U.S. ground troops, Army and Marines, 268,320 in the ROK Army, and 32,874 in the ground units of the seventeen other United Nations.
Truce negotiations were broken off by the Communists on 22 August. Van Fleet then launched a series of limited-objective attacks to improve the Eighth Army's defensive positions. The U.S. X and ROK I Corps in east-central Korea fought for terrain objectives five to seven miles above Line KANSAS, among them Bloody and Heartbreak Ridges, to drive enemy forces from positions that favored an attack on Line KANSAS. By the last week in October these objectives had been secured.
Along the western portion of the front, action in September was characterized by local attacks, counterattacks, and combat patrols. By 12 October five divisions of the I Corps had advanced the front three to four miles to a new Line JAMESTOWN to protect the Ch'orwon-Seoul railroad. The IX Corps followed with aggressive patrolling toward Kumsong. On 21 October it seized the commanding heights just south of the city.
On 25 October armistice negotiations were resumed at the new site of Panmunjom.
The Presidential Unit Citation may be awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and cobelligerent nations for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy occurring on or aft
... Moreer December 7, 1941. Hide
The Meritorious Unit Commendation is awarded to units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six continuous months during a period of military operat
... Moreions against an armed enemy on or after January 1, 1944. Hide
1 Jan - 30 Jun 44, GO 67, Hqs, 3d Inf Div, dtd 25 Feb 45
(Ardennes Alsace Campaign 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945) During their offensive in the Ardennes the Germans drove into Belgium and Luxembourg, creating a great bulge in the line. For some time
... Morethe weather was bad, but when it cleared the Allies could send their planes to assist their ground forces by bombing and strafing the enemy’s columns, dropping paratroops and supplies, and interdicting the enemy’s lines of communications. By the end of January 1945 the lost ground had been regained and the Battle of the Bulge, the last great German offensive, was over. Hide
(Rhineland Campaign 15 September 1944 to 21 March 1945) Attempting to outflank the Siegfried Line, the Allies tried an airborne attack on Holland on 17 September 1944. But the operation failed, and th
... Moree enemy was able to strengthen his defensive line from Holland to Switzerland. Little progress was made on the ground, but the aerial attacks on strategic targets continued. Then, having regained the initiative after defeating a German offensive in the Ardennes in December 1944, the Allies drove through to the Rhine, establishing a bridgehead across the river at Remagen. Hide
(Central Europe Campaign 22 March to 11 May 1945) Following the Battle of the Bulge the Allies had pushed through to the Rhine. On 22 March 1945 they began their assault across the river, and by I Apr
... Moreil the Ruhr was encircled. Armored columns raced across Germany and into Austria and Czechoslovakia. On 25 April, the day American and Russian forces met on the Elbe, strategic bombing operations came to an end. Germany surrendered on 7 May 1945 and operations officially came to an end the following day, although sporadic actions continued on the European front until 11 May. Hide
(Naples-Foggia Campaign 18 Aug 1943-21 Jan 1944 (Air); 9 Sep 1943-21 Jan 1944 (Ground) After Allied bombardment of communications and airfields in Italy, Montgomery crossed the Strait of Messina on 3
... MoreSeptember 1943 and started northward. Five days later Eisenhower announced that the Italian Government had surrendered. Fifth Army, under Clark, landed at Salerno on g September and managed to stay despite furious counterattacks. By 18 September the Germans were withdrawing northward. On 27 September Eighth Army occupied the important airfields of Foggia, and on I October Fifth Army took Naples. As the Allies pushed up the peninsula, the enemy slowed the advance and brought it to a halt at the Gustav Line. Hide
On January 1944, in conjunction with a frontal assault, the Allies attempted to turn the Gustav Line by landing troops at Anzio. But the frontal attack failed, and the Allies were unable to break out
... Moreof the beachhead at Anzio until the Gustav Line was breached in May 1944. Hide
(Rome-Arno Campaign 22 January to 9 September 1944) U.S. 5th Army advanced 150 miles to the Arno River. The unsuccessful attempt to break the Gustav Line on 22 January was followed by another unsucces
... Moresful effort in March when the infantry failed to push through after bombers had endeavored to open the line at Monte Cassino. Allied air power then began a vigorous campaign against railroads, highways, and shipping that supported German forces in Italy. With supply lines strangled, the Germans could not repulse the new drive launched by the Allies in May. German resistance crumbled. By 4 June 1944 the Allies had taken Rome. But the advance ground to a halt against a new defensive line the enemy established along the Arno River. Hide
(Southern France Campaign 15 August to 14 September 1944) While the Germans were retreating in Italy in the summer of 1944, the Allies diverted some of their strength in the theater to the invasion of
... More Southern France. After preliminary bombardment, a combined seaborne-airborne force landed on the French Riviera on 15 August. Marseilles having been taken, Sevmth Army advanced up the Rhone Valley and by mid-September was in touch with Allied forces that had entered France from the north. Hide
(Tunisia Campaign 17 November 1942 to 13 May 1943) Having gained Algeria, the Allies quickly turned eastward, hoping to take Tunis and Bizerte before the Germans could send reinforcements into Tunisia
... More. But the drive broke down short of the goal. In February 1943, after Rommel had been driven into Tunisia, the Axis took the offensive and pushed through Kasserine Pass before being stopped. With Ninth and Twelfth Air Forces in the battle, the Allies drove the enemy back into a pocket around Bizerte and Tunis, where Axis forces surrendered in May. Thus Tunisia became available for launching an attack on Sicily as a preliminary to an assault on Italy. Hide
(Sicily Campaign 9 July to 17 August 1943) In preparation for the invasion of Sicily the Allies captured the islands in the Sicilian strait, with aerial bombardment forcing the capitulation of Pantell
... Moreeria on 11 June 1943. By that time Allied air power had begun the attack on Sicily by bombing defenses and airfields. The invasion itself got under way on the night of 9/10 July with airborne landings that were followed the next day by an amphibious assault. The enemy offered strong resistance, but the Allies had superiority in the air and soon had planes operating from Sicilian bases to support Montgomery’s Eighth Army and Patton’s Seventh.
Interdictory operations against communications in Italy and between Italy and Sicily convinced the enemy that it would be impossible to move strong reinforcements. By 17 August 1943 the Allies were in possession of the island, but they had not been able to prevent a German evacuation across the Strait of Messina. Hide
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 ne
... Morew 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. Hide
Champagne-Marne, 15 - 18 July 1918. In the four great offensives from 21 March to 13 June 1918 the Germans gained considerable ground, but failed to achieve a decisive advantage at any point on the fr
... Moreont. Furthermore, success was bought at a price in manpower and material which they could ill afford. Their more then 600,000 casualties were irreplaceable, whereas the Allied loss of some 800,000 men was soon more than compensated for by new American units arriving at the front in ever-mounting numbers. By July 1918 Allied troops outnumbered German on the Western Front. Other factors also contributed to the decline of German morale, notably the pinch of the blockade and the effectiveness of the Allied propaganda, which was distributed widely by air at the front and in German cities behind the lines. But Ludendorff refused to consider peace negotiations, and planned two more offensives for July which he hoped would bring victory. The first of the new drives was designed to capture Rheims, to make more secure the supply of the Merge salient, and to draw in Allied reserves. The second and larger offensive, destined never to be launched, would strike once again at the British in Flanders.
When the two-pronged German assault on either side of Rheims began on 15 July the Allies were prepared for it. Plans for the attack had leaked out of Berlin, and Allied airplanes had detected the unusual activity behind the enemy front. Foch had time to draw up reserves, and Petain, the French commander, skillfully deployed his troops in defense-in-depth tactics. Consequently the German drive east of Rheims fell far short of its objective. The attack west of the city succeeded in pushing across the Marne near Chateau-Thierry, but was checked there by French and American units. Among the A.E.F. units involved in this action were the 3d, 26th, 28th, and 42d Divisions, the 369th Infantry, and supporting elements (in all about 85,000 Americans). It was here that the 38th Infantry of the 3d Division gained its motto, "Rock of the Marne."
By 17 July the Champagne-Marne offensive had petered out and the initiative passed to the Allies. The German people had built up great hopes for the success of this Friedensturm (peace offensive); its failure was a tremendous psychological blow to the whole nation.
Marne near Chateau-Thierry. Among the A.E.F. units involved were the 3d, 26th, 28th, and 42d Divisions, and the 369th Infantry(in all about 85,000 Americans). It was here that the 38th Infantry of the 3d Division gained its motto, "Rock of the Marne. Hide
Aisne-Marne, 18 July - 6 August 1918. Several days before the Germans launched their abortive Champagne-Marne drive, the French high command had made plans for a general converging offensive against t
... Morehe Marne salient. Petain issued orders on 12 July for the attack to begin on the 18th, with five French armies-the Tenth, Sixth, Ninth, Fifth, and Fourth, placed around the salient from left to right-taking part. Spearheading the attack were the five divisions of the French XX Corps (Tenth Army), including the American 1st and 2d Divisions. Early on 18 July the two American divisions and a French Moroccan division, jumping off behind a heavy barrage, launched the main blow at the northwest base of the salient near Soissons. Enemy frontline troops, taken by surprise, initially gave ground, although resistance stiffened after an Allied penetration of some three miles. Before the 1st and 2d Divisions were relieved (on 19 and 22 July respectively) they had advanced 6 to 7 miles, made Soissons untenable for the enemy, and captured 6,500 prisoners at a cost of over 10,000 American casualties.
Meanwhile the other French armies in the offensive also made important gains, and the German commander ordered a general retreat from the Marne salient. The French Sixth Army, on the right of the Tenth, advanced steadily from the southwest, reaching the Vesle River on 3 August. By 28 Judy this army included the American 3d, 4th, 28th, and 42d Divisions. The 4th and 42d Divisions were under control of the I Corps, the first American corps headquarters to participate in combat. On 4 August the American III Corps headquarters entered combat, taking control of the 28th and 32d Divisions (the latter had relieved the 3d Division in the line on 29 July). By 5 August the entire Sixth Army front was held by the two American corps. East of the Sixth Army the French Ninth and Fifth Armies also advanced into the salient. The Germans retired across the Aisne and Vesle Rivers, resolutely defending each strong point as they went.
By 6 August the Aisne-Marne Offensive was over. The threat to Paris was ended by wiping out the Marne salient. The initiative now had definitely passed to the Allies, ending any possibility that Ludendorff could carry out his planned offensive in Flanders. Moreover, the success of the offensive revealed the advantages of Allied unity of command and the fighting qualities of American units. The eight A.E.F. divisions (1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 26th, 28th, 32d, 42d) in the action had spearheaded much of the advance, demonstrating offensive capabilities that helped to inspire new confidence in the war-weary Allied armies. About 270,000 Americans took part in the battle.
On 24 July, while the Aisne-Marne drive was under way, Foch had outlined his plans for the remainder of 1918 at the only conference of Allied commanders that he called during the war. He proposed that the immediate objective of the Allied offensive should be the reduction of the three main German salients (Marne, Amiens, St. Mihiel), with the goal of improving lateral communications behind the front in preparation for a general offensive in the fall. Reduction of the St. Mihiel salient was assigned to Pershing at his own request.
The excellent showing made by American troops in the Aisne-Marne Offensive gave Pershing an opportunity to press again for the formation of an independent American army. Preliminary steps in the organization of the American First Army had been taken in early July 1918. On the 4th Lt. Col. Hugh A. Drum was selected as chief of staff and directed to begin establishment of army headquarters. After conferences on 10 and 21 July, Foch agreed on the 22d to the formal organization of the First Army, and to the formation of two American sectors-a temporary combat sector in the Chateau-Thierry region, where the already active I and III Corps could comprise the nucleus of the First Army, and a quiet sector farther east, extending from Nomeny (east of the Moselle) to a point north of St. Mihiel-which would become the actual theater of operations for the American Army as soon as circumstances permitted concentration of A.E.F. divisions there. Orders issued on 24 July announced formal organization of the First Army, effective on 10 August; designated Pershing as its commander; and located its headquarters at La Ferté-sous-Jouarre, west of Chateau-Thierry.
Stabilization of the Vesle River front in early August led Pershing to alter his plane for forming the First Army. Instead of organizing it in the Chateau-Thierry region and then moving it eastward for the St. Mihiel Offensive, he secured Foch's consent on 9 August to a build-up of First Army units in the vicinity of the St. Mihiel salient. Tentative plans for reduction of the salient called for the concentration of three American corps (about 14 American and 3 French divisions) on a front extending from Port-sur-Seille westward around the bulge to Watronville. Three American divisions would remain on the Vesle front.
Meanwhile Allied forces, including American units operating in other sectors of the Western Front, were making significant gains in the preliminary phases of the great final offensives. For the sake of clarity, the role of American units in the Somme Offensive (8 August11 November), Oise-Aisne (18 August-11 November), and Ypres-Lys (19 August-11 November) Campaigns will be described briefly, before considering in more detail the activities of the main body of A.E.F. troops in the St. Mihiel (12-16 September) and Meuse-Argonne (26 September-11 November) Campaigns.
The eight A.E.F. divisions (1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 26th, 28th, 32d, 42d) in the action had spearheaded much of the advance, demonstrating offensive capabilities that helped to inspire new confidence in the war-weary Allied armies. Hide
St. Mihiel, 12 - 16 September 1918. By September 1918, with both the Marne and the Amiens salients eliminated, there remained but one major threat to lateral rail communications behind the Allied line
... Mores-the old St. Mihiel salient near the Paris-Nancy line. Active preparations for its reduction began with the transfer of Headquarters First Army, effective 13 August, from La Ferté-sous-Jouarre in the Marne region to Neufchateau on the Meuse, immediately south of St. Mihiel. On 28 August the first echelon of headquarters moved closer to the front at Ligny-en-Barrois.
American unite from Flanders to Switzerland were shifted into the area near the salient. The fourteen American and four French divisions assigned to the First Army for the operation contained ample infantry and machinegun units for the attack. But because of the earlier priority given to shipment of infantry (at the insistence of the British and French) the First Army was short of artillery, tank, air and other support units essential to a well-balanced field army. The French made up this deficiency by loaning Pershing over half the artillery and nearly half the airplanes and tanks needed for the St. Mihiel operation.
Shortly before the offensive was to begin, Foch threatened once again to disrupt Pershing's long-held desire to carry out a major operation with an independent American force. On 30 August the Allied Commander in Chief proposed to exploit the recently gained successes on the Aisne-Marne and Amiens fronts by reducing the size of the St. Mihiel attack and dividing the American forces into three groups-one for the salient offensive and two for fronts to the east and west of the Argonne Forest. Pershing, however, remained adamant in his insistence that the First Army should not now be broken up, no matter where it might be sent into action. Fina1ly a compromise was reached. The St. Mihiel attack was subordinated to the much larger offensive to be launched on the Meuse-Argonne front in late September, but the First Army remained intact. Pershing agreed to limit his operations by employing only the minimum force needed to reduce the salient in three or four days. Simultaneously he was to prepare his troops for a major role in the Meuse-Argonne drive.
The St. Mihiel offensive began on 12 September with a threefold assault on the salient. The main attack was made against the south face by two American corps. On the right was the I Corps (from right to left the 82d, 90th, 5th, and 2d Divisions in line with the 78th in reserve) covering a front from Pont-à-Mousson on the Moselle westward to Limey; on the left, the IV Corps (from right to left the 89th, 42d, and 1st Divisions in line with the 3d in reserve) extending along a front from Limey westward to Marvoisin. A secondary thrust was carried out against the west face along the heights of the Meuse, from Mouilly north to Haudimont, by the V Corps (from right to left the 26th Division, the French 15th Colonial Division, and the 8th Brigade, 4th Division in line with the rest of the 4th in reserve). A holding attack against the apex, to keep the enemy in the salient, was made by the French II Colonial Corps (from right to left the French 39th Colonial Division, the French 26th Division, and the French 2d Cavalry Division in line). In First Army reserve were the American 35th, 80th, and 91st Divisions.
Tota1 Allied forces involved in the offensive numbered more than 650,000-some 550,000 American and 100,000 Allied (mostly French) troops. In support of the attack the First Army had over 3,000 guns, 400 French tanks, and 1,500 airplanes. Col. William Mitchell directed the heterogeneous air force, composed of British, French, Italian, Portuguese, and American units, in what proved to be the largest single air operation of the war. American squadrons flew 609 of the airplanes, which were mostly of French or British manufacture.
Defending the salient was German "Army Detachment C," consisting of eight divisions and a brigade in the line and about two divisions in reserve. The Germans, now desperately short of manpower, had begun a step-by-step withdrawal from the salient only the day before the offensive began. The attack went so well on 12 September that Pershing ordered a speedup in the offensive. By the morning of 13 September the 1st Division, advancing from the east, joined hands with the 26th Division, moving in from the west, and before evening all objectives in the salient had been captured. At this point Pershing halted further advances so that American units could be withdrawn for the coming offensive in the Meuse-Argonne sector.
This first major operation by an American Army under its own command took 16,000 prisoners at a cost of 7,000 casualties, eliminated the threat of an attack on the rear of Allied fortifications at Nancy and Verdun, greatly improved Allied lateral rail communications, and opened the way for a possible future offensive to seize Metz and the Briey iron fields. Hide
Meuse-Argonne, 26 September - 11 November 1918. At the end of August Marshal Foch had submitted plane to the national commanders for a final offensive along the entire Western Front, with the objectiv
... Moree of driving the enemy out of France before winter and ending the war in the spring of 1919. The basis for his optimism was the success of Allied attacks all along the front in August. Furthermore, he pointed out, the Allies already had active operations in progress between the Moselle and Meuse, the Oise and Aisne, and on the Somme and Lys Rivers. Foch acknowledged that the Germans could stave off immediate defeat by an orderly evacuation combined with destruction of materiel and communications. Therefore the overall aim of the fall offensive would be to prevent a step-by-step enemy retirement. As Foch anticipated, the Germans eventually contributed to the success of his strategy. Their High Command could not bring itself to sacrifice the huge stores collected behind the front lines, and so delayed the withdrawal of its armies.
Foch's great offensive, planned to begin in the last week of September, called for a gigantic pincers movement with the objective of capturing Aulnoye and Mézières, the two key junctions in the lateral rail system behind the German front. Lose of either of these junctions would hamper seriously the German withdrawal. Despite grumbling from the English that they lacked the necessary manpower, a chiefly British army was assigned the teak of driving toward Aulnoye. The A.E.F. was designated for the southern arm of the pincers, the thrust on Mézières. Simultaneously the Belgian-French-British army group in Flanders would drive toward Ghent, and the French armies in the Oise-Aisne region would exert pressure all along their front to lend support to the pincers attack.
Pershing decided to strike his heaviest blow in a zone about 20 miles wide between the Heights of the Meuse on the east and the western edge of the high, rough, and densely wooded Argonne Forest. This is difficult terrain, broken by a central north-south ridge that dominates the valleys of the Meuse and Aire Rivers. Three heavily fortified places-Montfaucon, Cunel, and Barricourt-as well as numerous strong points barred the way to penetration of the elaborate German defenses in depth that extended behind the entire front. This fortified system consisted of three main defense lines backed up by a fourth line less well-constructed. Pershing hoped to launch an attack with enough momentum to drive through these lines into the open area beyond, where his troops could then strike at the exposed German flanks and, in a coordinated drive with the French Fourth Army coming up on the left, could cut the Sedan- Mézières railroad.
The task of assembling troops in the concentration area between Verdun and the Argonne was complicated by the fact that many American unite were currently engaged in the St. Mihiel battle. Some 600,000 Americans had to be moved into the Argonne sector while 220,000 French moved out. Responsibility for solving this tricky logistical problem fell to Col. George C. Marshall, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (Operations), First Army. In the ten-day period after St. Mihiel the necessary troop movements were accomplished, but many untried divisions had to be placed in the vanguard of the attacking forces.
On the 20-mile Meuse-Argonne front where the main American attack w to be made, Pershing disposed three corps side by side, each with three divisions in line and one in corps reserve. In the center was the V Corps (from right to left the 79th, 37th, and 91st Divisions with the 32d in reserve), which would strike the decisive blow. On the right was the III Corps (from right to left the 33d, 80th, and 4th Divisions with the 3d in reserve), which would move up the west aide of the Meuse. On the left was the I Corps (from right to left the 35th, 28th, and 77th Divisions with the 92d in reserve), which would advance parallel to the French Fourth Army on its left. Eastward across the Meuse the American front extended in direct line some 60 miles; this sector was held by two French Corps (IV and II Colonial) and the American IV Corps in the St. Mihiel sector. Pershing had available to support his offensive nearly 4000 guns, two-thirds manned by American artillerymen; 190 light French tanks, mostly with American personnel; and some 820 aircraft, 600 of them flown by Americans.
The Meuse-Argonne Offensive falls into three phases. During the initial phase (26 September-3-October) the First Army advanced through most of the southern Meuse-Argonne region, captured enemy strong points, seized the first two German defense lines, and then stalled before the third line. Failure of tank support, a difficult supply situation, and the inexperience of American troops all contributed to checking its advance.
In the second phase (4-31 October) the First Army, after the inexperienced divisions had been replaced by veteran units, slowly ground its way through the third German line. The enemy was forced to throw in reserves, drawn from other parts of the front, thus aiding the Allied advances elsewhere. In the face of a stubborn defense, American gains were limited and casualties were severe, especially as a result of the newly devised enemy tactic of attacking frontline troops with airplanes. First Army air unite retaliated with bombing raids which broke up German preparations for counterattacks. By the end of October the enemy had been cleared from the Argonne and First Army troops were through the German main positions. Two notable incidents of this phase of the campaign were the fight of the "Lost Battalion" of the 77th Division (2-7 October), and the feat of Corp. (later Sgt.) Alvin C. York, who single-handedly killed 15 Germans and captured 132 on 8 October.
In mid-October the organization of the Second Army was completed, at Toul in the St. Mihiel sector, to provide means for better control of the lengthening American front and solutions of the diverse tactical problems that it presented. Pershing assumed command of the new army group thus formed.
Before the third and final phase (1-11 November) of the offensive got under way, many of the exhausted divisions of the First Army were replaced, roads were built or repaired, supply was improved, and most Allied units serving with the A.E.F. were withdrawn. On 1 November First Army units began the assault of the now strengthened German fourth line of defense. Penetration was rapid and spectacular. The V Corps in the center advanced about six miles the first day, compelling the German units west of the Meuse to withdraw hurriedly. On 4 November the III Corps forced a crossing of the Meuse and advanced northeast toward Montmédy. Elements of the V Corps occupied the heights opposite Sedan on 7 November, thus finally accomplishing the First Army's chief mission-denial of the Sedan- Mézières railroad to the Germans. Marshal Foch, at this juncture, shifted the First Army left boundary eastward so that the French Fourth Army might capture Sedan, which had fallen to the Prussians in 1870. American units were closing up along the Mouse and, east of the river, were advancing toward Montmédy, Briny, and Metz, when hostilities ended on 11 November.
General Pershing authorized the results of the Meuse-Argonne Campaign, the greatest battle in American history up to that time, in his Final Report: "Between September 26 and November 11, 22 American and 4 French divisions, on the front extending from southeast of Verdun to the Argonne Forest, had engaged and decisively beaten 47 different German divisions, representing 25 percent of the enemy's entire divisional strength on the western front.
The First Army suffered a loss of about 117,000 in killed and wounded. It captured 26,000 prisoners, 847 cannon, 3,000 machineguns, and large quantities of material." More than 1,200,000 Americans had taken part in the 47-day campaign. Hide