Battle of Chateau-Thierry 1918

What was happening in 1918?

The World War I began in 1914. During this war, Europe was divided into two opposing camps. On one side were the allied powers which include Britain and France among others. On the other side, the main belligerent was the German Empire.

USA remained neutral for the first 3 years of the war. But then in 1917, Germany started attacking the American ships. This forced the American government to declare war on the German Empire and join the allied camp. USA joined the war in 1917 and played a very important role in the final stage of fighting.

Before the Battle

In July 1918, the German forces launched an assault in the Flanders region. At the same time, the German forces attacked along other parts of the western front. One of these attacks was able to penetrate deep into French territory, bringing the German troops within 50 miles of Paris. The American forces were initially reluctant to fight under the French or the British. But witnessing the rapid German advance, they decided to aid the French.

The French were hard-pressed in the retreat when the American forces came to their aid and the combined forces then launched the counter-assault. It was during this counter-assault that the Battle of Chateau-Thierry took place. The battle was one of the first occasions when the American soldiers saw direct action in World War I and played an important role during the fighting.

When and where did the battle take place?

The Battle of Chateau-Thierry took place near Chateau-Thierry in Aisne, France. It was fought on July 18, 1918.

Commanders on both sides

The commander of the American troops was General John J. Pershing. French troops were led by Charles Mangin. General Ferdinand Foch coordinated the allied troops as the supreme commander. The German forces were commanded by Erich Ludendorff.

The Fighting

During the German Spring Offensive, the German troops reached within 50 miles of Paris, penetrating deep into French territory. The French were unable to garner the support of British troops at the time. Instead, they received crucial help from the American troops.

As the French troops retreated across the river Marne, the American artillery bombarded the German positions and covered the French. This gave the French troops valuable time to add explosives on the bridges over Marne.

When the Germans attacked the bridge, the French troops were able to resist stiffly. Finally, when the French retreated, they blew up the bridges. With the destroyed bridges and the barrage of American artillery, the German advanced was forced to a halt.

Result and Aftermath

The Battle of Chateau-Thierry was a crucial tactical victory for the allied forces. If the Germans had succeeded in advancing on the city of Paris, this would have been a major blow to the allied cause. So the success of American troops in stemming the German advance and helping in the safe retreat of the French was one of the earliest major achievements of American soldiers in the war.

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