The Battle of Belleau Wood

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The Battle of Belleau Wood was one the most famous battles of World War I in which the U.S. Marine Corps made their debut into the Western Front. This battle was decisive because it confirmed the entry of the U.S. into World War I which is one of the main reasons, that the allies won the war. American involvement for the first couple years of World War I had been kept to simply supply the allies with weapons and supplies. It wasn’t until 1917 when the United States changed its view on isolationism due to a building pressure and Germany’s several indiscriminate attacks on civilians and attempt at a secret alliance as described in the Zimmerman note. The Battle of Belleau Wood was the Marine Corps attempt to aid the ailing French in losing their territory, most importantly Paris, to the German invaders. The primary source document referenced is a first-hand account from Lt Col Frederick May Wise, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines at Belleau Wood. The article was written from anywhere between the June 1 and June 26, when the battle was recorded to have occurred. Lt Col Wise describes in the beginning of the account how he saw several “German sausages” high in the air. These “sausages” were observation balloons that gave the German’s a warning of the allied advance and indicated to the Marines that a defensive fortification was nearby. The men were ordered to hide in the trees of the Bois de Belleau were they were soon pelted by German artillery fire. The continuous shelling was followed but a never ending machine gun and rifle fire from the Germans and the Marines made their best attempts to dig a trench and take cover. Lt Col Wise went to discuss the next course of actions and take suggestions from the commanders of other battalions. Orders then came in from higher up that an attack from the southern edge of Bois de Belleau was to commence which would be a frontal assault on the German positions. After the initial allied shelling of the woods,...
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