America’s most deadly battle: the first world War, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive 100 years later

American soldiers in the Army of the 108th Field Artillery under fire of the enemy gas shells – strike back in Varennes-en-Argonne, France.

(National world war ii Museum and Memorial)

A century ago it was Wednesday, the first shots were fired in one of the most important American military engagement ever — and the deadliest battle in AMERICAN history.

The first world War, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, in which more than a million American soldiers claimed the lives of 26,277, was launched in the north of France on Sept. 26, 1918 to push the German army out of the country and the release of the track, is of vital importance for the supply of the enemy troops. The battle lasted for a grueling 46 days and generated scores of stories of heroism and sacrifice.

But mainly, it has helped to put an end to The Great War.

“In the size and number of the American and French troops involved not only the infantry, but the artillery, tanks, engineers,… only the logistics, the largest operation of the American armed forces had been at that time,” Doran Cart, senior curator of the National world war ii Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, told Fox News.

American soldiers, in the vicinity of Boureuilles, ride on top of the tanks on the road to a division headquarters on the first day of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

(National world war ii Museum and Memorial)

Photos of the battle of the museum, shared with Fox News a glimpse of the emotions and the constant threats from both sides, experienced.

In one photo, in the American troops, the donning of gas masks in the middle of a chemical attack are also seen firing back at the Germans with their own artillery strikes. Another shows the grumpy faces of German prisoners of war as they draw water from a well for their canteen.

The offensive began Sept. 26, with the French city of Verdun as the center of Allied operations, Cart says.

American infantry troops, supported by 2,700 pieces of artillery, 189 tanks, and 821 aircraft, according to the U.S. Center for Military History, spread in an area of approximately 15 to 20 km wide, bordered by the Meuse River on the one side and the dense Argonne Forest on the other.

The Allies’ mission was to fight against the north and break through a heavily fortified network of German defences that ran about 15 meters deep.

Captured German prisoners draw water from a well for their mess hall in Pierrefitte-sur-Aire, France.

(National world war ii Museum and Memorial)

“This was a very well-defended, but it was basically the last well defended area on the Western Front, the” shopping Cart told Fox News.

The American army at the beginning of the offensive, quickly got to the ground, but rainy, muddy weather in the following days stopped and gave the Germans time to regroup.

By the end of September, the AMERICAN troops on the road eight miles into the German defense and took 9,000 of them caught, the U.S. Army Center for Military History says.

The Forest of Argonne and the surrounding areas was one of the central points of the battle in October, and the rugged, unpredictable terrain contributed to the enormous amounts of American casualties.

“The most important factor in all of this was that it was a different kind of fighting than what happened before in the first world War, the” shopping Cart told Fox News. “This was not trench on the trench — this was the rise and the attacks of the enemy and when you do that you are much more exposed.”

Shopping cart says 60 percent of all battlefield deaths in the first world War were caused by artillery, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive had enough of.

Howitzers belonging to the 106th Field Artillery prepared for action during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

(National world war ii Museum and Memorial)

“The number of artillery pieces used in this offensive was staggering,” he said. “So it was everywhere.”

The beginning of November the AMERICAN forces reached their goal and on the 11th, an armistice was signed between the Allies and the Germans, ending the war. That day each year has become the American holiday Veterans Day.

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the left of 28,000 Germans dead, according to the Army Heritage Center.

One of the most famous stories to come out of the offensive was the exploits of the “Lost Battalion”, a group of American soldiers who came again and surrounded by the Argonne Forest by the Germans.

During a rescue attempt of the soldiers, American artillery troops accidentally began a bombardment of their own men.

“WE ARE ALONG THE ROAD PARALELL 276.4. OUR ARTILLERY IS DROPPING A BARRAGE DIRECTLY ON US. FOR HEAVENS SAKE STOP it,” Maj. Charles W. Whittlesey cried out in a message affixed to a carrier pigeon flew to his countrymen in the neighborhood.

The troops held their position for five days and nights, and were eventually rescued, but end up losing 107 men, according to statistics from the National Archives.

Army Air Force Lt. Harold E. Goettler and Lt. Erwin R. Bleckley managed to help the rescue operation by the dropping of supplies to the stranded troops from a plane – one of the first times that the American forces did, Cart said, and both went on to earn the Medal of Honor, along with Whittlesey and other soldiers.

“Heroism in that time, it was recognised as doing something different than the esteem for themselves,” Cart told Fox News. “They had to do something that took them out of their own safety zone and saving other people.”

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