On this day in history September 26th, 1918 the U.S. Army launched one of the largest
offensives in American Military history, the Meuse-Argonne Campaign of the First World War. More than 1.2 million soldiers of the American Expeditionary Forces engaged in this critical battle that lasted until Armistice Day. The campaign supported the entire Allied offensive that would extend from Verdun, France, through Belgium all the way to the English Channel. In the Meuse-Argonne, the Americans faced their greatest challenge since arriving in theatre. The region was of great strategic importance to the German Army. It linked their communications along the extensive 400 mile front, and protected railways vital for transporting troops. The German Army would hold out at all costs. With four years of combat experience, the
Germans were well prepared for the engagement. The rolling hills and densely wooded forests
of the region provided the Germans with ideal defensive positions on which to unleash devastating
machine gun and artillery fire upon the advancing American forces. The Americans faced a formidable adversary
whose guns would not be silenced with ease. Nevertheless, the determined American offensive forced the Germans to continuously withdraw northward, before the armistice abruptly ended
the campaign and the war. During the 47-day battle over 26,000 Americans lost their lives, and nearly 100,000 were wounded. Of those brave Americans who fell during the campaign 14,246 were laid to rest at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in eastern France. The names of over 900 are inscribed on the cemetery’s wall of the missing.