Days of Perfect Hell: The U.S. 26th Infantry Regiment in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, October-November 1918
by Peter L. Belmonte
Schiffer Military History, 2015
|The Regiment Arriving in the Argonne Sector, Near Cheppy|
Belmonte begins with a brief but detailed picture of the American Expeditionary Force's organization from the top to the lowly soldier slugging through the mud. Leadership personalities are delved. Then he briefly covers the weapons that the soldier used and would have come into contact with including those used by the other side of the line. To round out what I saw as a basic introduction to the fighting man of the Great War, the author then gives a short history of the regiment's origin, training, and involvement in the war up to their exposure to the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Covering these areas presents an in-depth profile of the unit that the reader will need as he accompanies the regiment through forests and across rivers and creeks.
|Corpsman Axel Lundegard, 26th Infantry, Receives the Distinguished Service Cross |
from General Pershing for Service in Action 4 October 1918
Contrary to what many have thought over the years, the German army was not as demoralized or inept in October 1918 as some have implied. Resistance to the Americans was staunch. The doughboys had to slug their way through a warren of cleverly hidden machine gun nests and other obstacles. I was appalled at the number of casualties incurred by the division and the regiment. From 4 - 12 October the division casualty rate was 196 officers and 7324 men, with the regiment hardest hit with the loss of 41 officers and 1600 men out of a beginning strength of 3300 men and 84 officers. It seemed that the American commanders were repeating some of the same mistakes the British and French made in 1914 which had caused horrendous casualties in the war's opening months.
Michael P. Kihntopf