Meuse-Argonne veterans who went on to become leading figures in the Second World War included Douglas MacArthur, seen here receiving the Distinguished Service Cross from General Pershing, commander of American forces on the Western Front. Looking on (right) is William Donovan, later head of the OSS intelligence agency, precursor of the CIA (Photo: US Army/Wikimedia Commons)

Argonne project remembering America's bloodiest WWI battle

Posted on on 24 January 2018
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A project raising awareness of key sites in America's Meuse-Argonne Offensive of 1918 has been launched by the French National Forestry Office, ONF.

Plans include commemorative tree planting and the creation of a heritage trail, with educational tours of the cemetery where the greatest number of US war dead in Europe lie.

More than 14,000 soldiers are buried at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial at Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, northwest of Verdun. 

Sponsorship is being sought for the ONF commemorative project, which has joint backing from France's lead centenary organisation, Mission Centenaire, and the US World War I Centennial Commission. For more details, see Mission Centenaire.

Opening on 26 September 1918, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the largest US operation of the First World War. Supported by French forces, it formed part of the Allied attacks along the Western Front forcing Germany to seek an armistice in November.

The Centennial is being seen as a timely opportunity to reawaken interest in this and other actions of America's 'forgotten' war. 

More than a million US troops were involved, among them future President Harry Truman, and two commanders who went on play leading roles in the Second World War, Douglas MacArthur and George Patton.

In all, over 26,000 Americans fell in six weeks of fighting, and almost 96,000 were wounded.

Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery is cared for by the American Battle Monuments Commission. For information about Centennial ceremonies at US cemeteries in Europe in 2018, see the ABMC website.

Source: Mission Centenaire/Office National des Forêts

Images: US Army/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Posted by: CN Editorial Team