The American Expeditionary forces
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. Photograph. C1919. Prints and Photographs Division, Library that Congress. LC-USZ62-113824.

World war I was the first time in American background that the United claims sent soldiers overseas to protect foreign soil. On April 6, 1917, when the joined States declared war versus Germany, the country had a standing army of 127,500 officers and also soldiers. By the finish of the war, 4 million men had actually served in the United claims Army, with secondary 800,000 in various other military business branches.

Once battle was declared, the army attempted come mobilize the troops an extremely quickly. The fatigued British and French troops, who had actually been fighting since August 1914, sorely needed the relief available by the American forces. In might 1917, general John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing was designated the can be fried commander of the American military in France, and also the American Expeditionary pressures (AEF) were created. Pershing and also his staff soon realized just how ill-prepared the United claims was come transport huge numbers the soldiers and necessary equipment to the front, whereby supplies, rations, equipment, and also trained soldiers were every in short supply. Since even the carry ships required to carry American troops come Europe were scarce, the military pressed into business cruise ships, seized German ships, and also borrowed Allied pearl to transfer American soldiers from brand-new York, new Jersey, and also Virginia. The mobilization effort taxed the boundaries of the American military and required brand-new organizational strategies and command structures to transport good numbers of troops and also supplies quickly and efficiently.

Although the first American troops come in Europe in June 1917, the AEF walk not totally participate at the front till October, once the first Division, one of the best-trained departments of the AEF, entered the trenches at Nancy, France. Pershing want an American pressure that can operate separately of the other Allies, but his vision could not it is in realized till adequately trained troops with sufficient supplies got to Europe. Training institutions in America sent their ideal men to the front, and Pershing additionally established facilities in France to train new arrivals because that combat.

Throughout 1917 and into 1918, American divisions were generally employed come augment French and British devices in defending their lines and also in staging strikes on German positions. Beginning in may 1918, through the an initial United claims victory in ~ Cantigny, AEF leaders increasingly assumed sole manage of American pressures in combat. By July 1918, French pressures often to be assigned to assistance AEF operations. Throughout the fight of St. Mihiel, start September 12, 1918, Pershing commanded the American first Army, comprising seven divisions and an ext than 500,000 men, in the largest offensive operation ever before undertaken by joined States equipped forces. This effective offensive was adhered to by the battle of Argonne, lasting native September 27 come October 6, 1918, throughout which Pershing commanded more than one million American and French soldiers. In this two armed forces operations, Allied forces recovered much more than two hundred square mile of French are from the German army.

By the moment Germany signed the Armistice on November 11, 1918, the American Expeditionary pressures had progressed into a modern, combat-tested army recognized as among the best in the world.


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The united States had sustained an ext than 320,000 casualties in the an initial World War, including over 53,000 eliminated in action, over 63,000 non-combat connected deaths, mainly as result of the influenza pandemic of 1918, and 204,000 wounded.1 In less than 2 years the united States had established new motorized and combat forces, fitted them with all varieties of ordnance including device guns and also tanks, and created an entirely brand-new support organization qualified of moving supplies countless miles in a stylish manner. People War I detailed the United claims with valuable strategic lessons and an officer corps that would end up being the nucleus because that mobilizing and also commanding sixteen million American military personnel in world War II.