July 23, 1918 – Battle of Soissons
Pictured – US Marines in France. The Marine brigade lost half its strength at Belleau Wood and Soissons but earned a reputation as excellent fighters.
Fighting on the more southerly end of the Western Front alongside the French, American soldiers joined in a battle for Soissons which ended on July 23 which the recapture of ground lost in the German Spring Offensive. After five days of combat, the AEF troops fighting in General Mangin’s French Tenth Army had suffered 12,000 casualties.
There had been both triumphs and mistakes on the field. In particular inexperienced but confident American soldiers showed an unwillingness to adapt the cautious battle tactics of their French allies, and their attacks resembled the brave bayonet charges of 1914. Similarly, American attacks ended with hundreds of men dead or wounded. German airplanes also caused some panic. After a chaotic battle the Americans were mostly withdrawn to recover on the 23rd, but having fared well and retaken ground from the enemy.