The Battle of Argonne Forest

American wounded being evacuated

On September 26th,1918 Allied troops took the offensive, under the command of General Foch. Thanks to the presence of a million American soldiers in France by this time, the Allies made slow, but steady, progress. The German high command warned that it could no longer ensure victory and, as the German army began mutinying, it sued for peace.


The Battle of Argonne Forest was part of what became known as the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the last battle of World War I . It was a massive attack along the whole line, with the immediate goal of reaching the railroad junction as Sedan. The US had over 1 million troops now available to fight. While the US troops were not battle tested, the introduction of over 1 million well armed troops into a battle that had exhausted armies for four years would prove decisive.

Commanding US troops was General Pershing. Responsible for the logistics was Colonel George Marshall. The American offensive began on September 26th, 1918 North of Verdun. It began like all World War I battles with a massive artillery attack. The American forces had mixed results in the first stage of the battle that lasted until October 3rd. German resistance was strong, but the sheer numbers of the Americans slowly forced the German back. Meanwhile the French and British troops to the North were having similar success, slow but steady advances. By the end of the second stage of the battle which lasted from October 6th to 26th the American forces had advanced over 10 miles and cleared the Argonne Forest.

In the final stage of the battle which lasted until the Armistice of November 11, 1918 American forces advanced on Metz, while French forces conquered the goal of the campaign Sedan. The Americans suffered 192,000 casualties in the battle including 26,277 killed. The French suffered 70,000 casualties, while the Germans had 126,000 casualties among them 56,000 prisoners.