This site salutes all veterans for all wars who took up the charge to protect freedom.  Their sacrifice for freedom is the greatest sacrifice in perserving our liberties. May we never forget them.

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Freedom is not free. It is paid with every drop of blood, sweat, and tears of our men and women who serve or has served in the armed forces.

WW1: Holding the Line at the Marne

In 1918, at the climax of the German advancement, the British and French found themselves struggling to hold their ground. The great German drive by Von Hindenburg had gained much ground at the junction of the British and French armies. Unable to break the lines of the armies, he decided to devise a plan to continue his march toward Paris. Therefore, Von Hindenburg began planning a way to attack both the British and the French in an attempt to pursue his objective. He decided to attack the French first, and prepare his final assault against the British. "His plan of maneuver against the French was to deliver a blow, in the general direction of Soissons-Fismes, that would threaten Paris; to cut the Paris-Epernay railroad; and then, under the protection of the interruption in the French Line of communications, to thrust powerful penetrating blow through the vicinity of Epernay-Chalons, and exploit the penetration against the inner flanks of the two dislocated wings of the French forces." (C.R. Howland)

Forty-two German divisions and four thousand pieces of artillery were secretly assembled for the attack which was launched on May 27, at 4am. For four days the French were pushed back as the Germans crossed the Aisne, Vesle, and main road to Paris, and finally appeared on the banks of the Marne. One of the most difficult days of the war was on May 31st.

With a continued successful drive by the Germans, General Pershing, on May 30th, placed the 2nd Division, under General Bundy, and the 3rd Division, under General Dickman, at the disposal of the French commander, General d'Esperey, in the threatened areas. At this time, the 3rd Division was quickly ordered to help hold the line of the Marne. While the 3rd division was getting into postion, a motorized division of machine gun battalions were sent ahead. On May 31, at 4pm, these machine gun battalions went into action at Chateau-Thierry. The cheers from the tired French could be heard for miles.

The American machine gunners were able to hold off the Germans in an heroic effort. In the words of the French General Duchesne, he stated that they "prevented the enemy from crossing the Marne. In the course of violent combats, particularly on May 31st and June st, this battalion disputed the northern suburbs of Chateau-Thierry foot by foot, inflicted servere losses on the enemy, and covered itself with glory by its bravery and ability."

Unable to cross the Marne at Chateau-Theirry, the Germans re-routed their advance and crossed the Marne a few miles down the river. The Germans' immediate objective was the cutting of the French communications between Paris and Epernay. Fortunately, the 5th brigade under General Sladen and the 6th Brigade under General Crawford forced-marched their men into action along side the tired French. In a desperate fight both the French and the Americans gained fire superiority and forced the enemy to recross the Marne.

The brave American soldiers who stood their ground and faced the enemy with unwavering courage, helped to save France from utter destruction. While these same soldiers would continue their fight throughout the war, the battle at the Marne would forever stand as a testiment to the strength and fortitude of the American soldier. As history shows, the American soldier represents the best of the best and is always there to protect and defend people from dictators who suppress the people's freedoms.

 

 

Sacrifice for free is not duty but an honor.

 

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