First American Division Arrives in France

Some of the first American troops to disembark at St. Nazaire.

June 28 1917, St. Nazaire–Having successfully avoided U-boats on their way across the Atlantic, the first American troop convoy arrived in St. Nazaire.  The 14,000 troops on board finished unloading on June 28.  They were greeted rapturously by the people of St. Nazaire, who hoped that American troops would bring the war to a swift conclusion.  However, Pershing was less sanguine.  He knew that the troops were disorganized and not fully trained, and it would be some time before they would be ready to serve on the front.  This was further complicated by more political issues of command; the Americans insisted that the AEF work as a “separate and distinct component of the combined forces,” under an independent American command.  This was unlike American naval forces in Europe, which were placed under British command, or the other Allied contingents of similar size on the Western Front (such as the Russian or Portuguese expeditionary forces).  Due to all of these factors, Americans would not serve on the front until October.

Today in 1915:  British at Gallipoli Take Turkish Trenches at Gully Spur

Today in 1916: Spartacist Karl Liebknecht Sentenced to Hard Labor 

Sources include: Andrew Carroll, My Fellow Soldiers.