The American Expeditionary Forces (A. E. F., A.E.F. or AEF) was a formation of the United States Army on the Western Front of World War I. The AEF was established on July 5, 1917, in France under the command of Gen. John J. Pershing. It fought alongside French Army, British Army, Canadian Army, and Australian Army units against the German Empire. A minority of the AEF troops also fought alongside Italian Army units in that same year against the Austro-Hungarian Army. The AEF helped the French Army on the Western Front during the Aisne Offensive (at the Battle of Château-Thierry and Battle of Belleau Wood) in the summer of 1918, and fought its major actions in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in the latter part of 1918.
|American Expeditionary Forces|
Officers of the AEF and the Baker Mission, c. 1918.
|Disbanded||August 31, 1920|
|Branch||United States Army|
|Size||c. 2,000,000 men|
|General Headquarters||Chaumont, France|
|Commander in Chief||Gen. John J. Pershing|
President Woodrow Wilson initially planned to give command of the AEF to Gen. Frederick Funston, but after Funston's sudden death, Wilson appointed Major General John J. Pershing in May 1917, and Pershing remained in command for the entire war. Pershing insisted that American soldiers be well-trained before going to Europe. As a result, few troops arrived before January 1918. In addition, Pershing insisted that the American force would not be used merely to fill gaps in the French and British armies, and he resisted European efforts to have U.S. troops deployed as individual replacements in decimated Allied units. This approach was not always well received by the western Allied leaders who distrusted the potential of an army lacking experience in large-scale warfare. In addition, the British Empire tried to bargain with its spare shipping to make the United States put its soldiers into British ranks.
By June 1917, only 14,000 American soldiers had arrived in France, and the AEF had only a minor participation at the front through late October 1917, but by May 1918 over one million American troops were stationed in France, though only half of them made it to the front lines. Since the transport ships needed to bring American troops to Europe were scarce at the beginning, the U.S. Army pressed into service passenger liners, seized German ships, and borrowed Allied ships to transport American soldiers from ports in New York City, New Jersey, and Virginia. The mobilization effort taxed the American military to the limit and required new organizational strategies and command structures to transport great numbers of troops and supplies quickly and efficiently. The French harbors of Bordeaux, La Pallice, Saint Nazaire, and Brest became the entry points into the French railway system that brought the American troops and their supplies to the Western Front. American engineers in France also built 82 new ship berths, nearly 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of additional standard-gauge tracks, and over 100,000 miles (160,000 km) of telephone and telegraph lines.
The first American troops, who were often called "Doughboys", landed in Europe in June 1917. However the AEF did not participate at the front until October 21, 1917, when the 1st Division fired the first American shell of the war toward German lines, although they participated only on a small scale. A group of regular soldiers and the first American division to arrive in France, entered the trenches near Nancy, France, in Lorraine.
The AEF used French and British equipment. Particularly appreciated were the French canon de 75 modèle 1897, the canon de 155 C modèle 1917 Schneider, and the canon de 155mm GPF. American aviation units received the SPAD XIII and Nieuport 28 fighters, and the U.S. Army tank corps used French Renault FT light tanks. Pershing established facilities in France to train new arrivals with their new weapons. By the end of 1917, four divisions were deployed in a large training area near Verdun: the 1st Division, a regular army formation; the 26th Division, a National Guard division; the 2nd Division, a combination of regular troops and U.S. Marines; and the 42nd "Rainbow" Division, a National Guard division made up of soldiers from nearly every state in the United States. The fifth division, the 41st Division, was converted into a depot division near Tours.
Supporting the two million soldiers across the Atlantic Ocean was a massive logistical enterprise. Yet the U.S. Army's logistical skills had atrophied during the decades following the Civil War. In order to be successful, the Americans needed to create a coherent support structure with very little institutional knowledge.
After a rough start, the AEF developed support network appropriate for the huge size of the American force. It rested upon the Services of Supply in the rear areas, with ports, railroads, depots, schools, maintenance facilities, bakeries, clothing repair shops (termed salvage), replacement depots, ice plants, and a wide variety of other activities.
The Services of Supply initiated support techniques that would last well into the Cold War including forward maintenance, field cooking, graves registration (mortuary affairs), host nation support, motor transport, and morale services. The work of the logisticians enabled the success of the AEF and contributed to the emergence of the American Army as a modern fighting force.
African Americans were drafted on the same basis as whites and made up 13 percent of the draftees. By the end of the war, over 350,000 African-Americans had served in AEF units on the Western Front. However, they were assigned to segregated units commanded by white officers. One fifth of the black soldiers sent to France saw combat, compared to two-thirds of the whites. They were three percent of AEF combat forces, and under two percent of battlefield fatalities. "The mass of the colored drafted men cannot be used for combatant troops", said a General Staff report in 1918, and it recommended that "these colored drafted men be organized in reserve labor battalions." They handled unskilled labor tasks as stevedores in the Atlantic ports and common laborers at the camps and in the Services of the Rear in France. The French, whose front-line troops were resisting combat duties to the point of mutiny, requested and received control of several regiments of black combat troops. Kennedy reports "Units of the black 92nd Division particularly suffered from poor preparation and the breakdown in command control. As the only black combat division, the 92nd Division entered the line with unique liabilities. It had been deliberately dispersed throughout several camps during its stateside training; some of its artillery units were summoned to France before they had completed their courses of instruction, and were never fully-equipped until after the Armistice; nearly all its senior white officers scorned the men under their command and repeatedly asked to be transferred. The black enlisted men were frequently diverted from their already attenuated training opportunities in France in the summer of 1918 and put to work as stevedores and common laborers."
The 369th, 370th, 371st, and 372d Infantry Regiments (nominally the 93d Division, but never consolidated as such) served with distinction under French command with French colonial units in front-line combat. The French did not harbor the same levels of disdain based on skin color and for many Americans of an African-American descent it was a liberating and refreshing experience. These African-American soldiers wore American uniforms, some dating from the time of the Union Army, with French helmets and were armed with French Model 1907/15 8mm Lebel Berthier rifle, and Fusil Mle 1907/15 manufactured by Remington Arms rather than the M1903 Springfield or M1917 Enfield rifles issued to most American soldiers. One of the most distinguished units was the 369th Infantry Regiment, known as the Harlem Hellfighters. The 369th was on the front lines for six months, longer than any other African-American regiment in the war. One hundred seventy-one members of the 369th were awarded the Legion of Merit. One member of the 369th, Sergeant Henry Johnson, was awarded the French Croix de guerre, and posthumously the Medal of Honor.
At the beginning, during the Spring of 1918, the four battle-ready U.S. divisions were deployed under French and British command to gain combat experience by defending relatively quiet sectors of their lines. After the first offensive action and American-led AEF victory on 28 May 1918 at the Battle of Cantigny, by the U.S. 1st Division, and a similar local action by the 2nd Division at Belleau Wood beginning 6 June, both while assigned under French Corps command, Pershing worked towards the deployment of an independent US field Army. The rest followed at an accelerating pace during the spring and summer of 1918. By June Americans were arriving in-theater at the rate of 10,000 a day; most of which entered training by British, Canadian and Australian battle-experienced officers and senior non-commissioned ranks. The training took a minimum of six weeks due to the inexperience of the servicemen.
The first offensive action by AEF units serving under non-American command was 1,000 men (four companies from the 33d Division AEF), with the Australian Corps during the Battle of Hamel on 4 July 1918. (Corporal Thomas A. Pope was awarded the Medal of Honor for this battle.) This battle took place under the overall command of the Australian Corps commander, Lt. Gen. Sir John Monash. The Allied force in this battle combined artillery, armor, infantry, and air support (Combined arms), which served as a blueprint for all subsequent Allied attacks, using "tanks".
U.S. Army and Marine Corps troops played a key role in helping stop the German thrust towards Paris, during the Second Battle of the Marne in June 1918 (at the Battle of Château-Thierry (1918) and the Battle of Belleau Wood). The first major and distinctly American offensive was the reduction of the Saint Mihiel salient during September 1918. During the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, Pershing commanded the U.S. First Army, composed of seven divisions and more than 500,000 men, in the largest offensive operation ever undertaken by United States armed forces. This successful offensive was followed by the Meuse-Argonne offensive, lasting from September 26 to November 11, 1918, during which Pershing commanded more than one million American and French combatants. In these two military operations, Allied forces recovered more than 200 sq mi (488 km2) of French territory from the German army. By the time the World War I Armistice had suspended all combat on November 11, 1918, the American Expeditionary Forces had evolved into a modern, combat-tested army.
Late in the war, American units ultimately fought in two other theaters at the request of the European powers. Pershing sent troops of the 332d Infantry Regiment to Italy, and President Wilson agreed to send some troops, the 27th and 339th Infantry Regiments, to Russia. These latter two were known as the American Expeditionary Force Siberia, and the American Expeditionary Force North Russia.
Using questionnaires filled out by doughboys as they left the Army, Gutièrrez reports that they were not cynical or disillusioned. They fought "for honor, manhood, comrades, and adventure, but especially for duty."
The AEF sustained about 320,000 casualties: 53,402 battle deaths, 63,114 noncombat deaths and 204,000 wounded. Relatively few men suffered actual injury from poison gas, although much larger numbers mistakenly thought that they had been exposed. The 1918 influenza pandemic during the fall of 1918 took the lives of more than 25,000 men from the AEF, while another 360,000 became gravely ill. Some other diseases were relatively well controlled through compulsory vaccination. Typhoid fever was also practically eliminated.
The 12th Division (12. Division) was a unit of the Prussian/German Army. It was formed in Neiße (now Nysa, Poland) on September 5, 1818. The division was subordinated in peacetime to the VI Army Corps (VI. Armeekorps). The division was disbanded in 1919 during the demobilization of the German Army after World War I. The division was recruited primarily in the Province of Silesia, mainly in the region of Upper Silesia.130th Field Artillery Regiment
The 130th Field Artillery Regiment is a United States Army field artillery regiment, represented in the Kansas Army National Guard by the 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery, part of the 130th Field Artillery Brigade at Hiawatha, Kansas.
The regiment was originally organized in 1917 after the United States entry into World War I as the 1st Field Artillery of the Kansas National Guard. Later that year, it mustered into Federal service and was reorganized as the 130th Field Artillery, fighting with the 35th Division in the American Expeditionary Forces in France. After the end of World War I the regiment returned home and was demobilized, briefly reverting to its state designation. In 1921 it became the 130th Field Artillery again and was assigned to the 35th Division. Inducted into Federal service during World War II, the regiment was broken up into the 130th and 154th Field Artillery Battalions in 1942, which were relieved from the 35th Division.
The 130th Field Artillery remained stateside until late 1944, when it was sent to Europe, serving in Germany in the final months of the war. The 154th was sent to the Pacific and fought in the Aleutian Islands Campaign. Postwar, both battalions returned to state service, with the 130th becoming the 130th Armored Field Artillery Battalion. In 1959 both battalions consolidated as the 130th Artillery under the Combat Arms Regimental System.141st Air Refueling Squadron
The 141st Air Refueling Squadron (141 ARS) is a unit of the New Jersey Air National Guard 108th Wing located at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey. The 141st is equipped with the KC-135R Stratotanker.
The 141 ARS was first organized as the 141st Aero Squadron on 2 January 1918 at Rockwell Field, California. The squadron deployed to France and fought on the Western Front during World War I as a pursuit squadron as part of the American Expeditionary Forces. The unit was demobilized after the war in 1919.American Expeditionary Force, North Russia
The American Expeditionary Force, North Russia (AEF in North Russia) (also known as the Polar Bear Expedition) was a contingent of about 5,000 United States Army troops that landed in Arkhangelsk, Russia as part of the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War and fought the Red Army in the surrounding region during the period of September 1918 through to July 1919.American Expeditionary Force, Siberia
The American Expeditionary Force, Siberia (AEF in Siberia) was a formation of the United States Army involved in the Russian Civil War in Vladivostok, Russia, during the end of World War I after the October Revolution, from 1918 to 1920. The force was part of the larger Allied North Russia Intervention. As a result of this expedition early relations between the United States and the Soviet Union were poor.
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's claimed objectives for sending troops to Siberia were as much diplomatic as they were military. One major reason was to rescue the 40,000 men of the Czechoslovak Legion, who were being held up by Bolshevik forces as they attempted to make their way along the Trans-Siberian Railroad to Vladivostok, and it was hoped, eventually to the Western Front. Another major reason was to protect the large quantities of military supplies and railroad rolling stock that the United States had sent to the Russian Far East in support of the Russian Empire's war efforts on the WW1 Eastern Front. Equally stressed by Wilson was the need to "steady any efforts at self-government or self defense in which the Russians themselves may be willing to accept assistance." At the time, Bolshevik forces controlled only small pockets in Siberia and President Wilson wanted to make sure that neither Cossack marauders nor the Japanese military would take advantage of the unstable political environment along the strategic railroad line and in the resource-rich Siberian regions that straddled it.Concurrently and for similar reasons, about 5,000 American soldiers were sent to Arkhangelsk (Archangel), Russia by Wilson as part of the separate Polar Bear Expedition.American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front (World War I) order of battle
This is the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front order of battle. The American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) consisted of the United States Armed Forces (mostly the United States Army) that were sent to Europe in World War I to support the Allied cause against the Central Powers. During the United States campaigns in World War I the AEF fought in France alongside French and British allied forces in the last year of the war, against Imperial German forces. Some of the troops fought alongside Italian forces in that same year, against Austro-Hungarian forces. Late in the war American units also fought in Siberia and North Russia.President Woodrow Wilson created the AEF in May 1917, originally appointing Major General John J. Pershing, who was later promoted to general, as commander. Barely any American troops were sent to Europe in 1917, since Pershing ordered all AEF forces to be well-trained before going overseas.The troop ships used to transport the AEF were, at first, any ships that were available. Cruisers, German ships seized by the Navy, ships borrowed from the Allies, and many other ships were used to ship troops to Europe from ports in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia. By June 1917, only 14,000 soldiers had made it to the front lines, but by May 1918 over two million American troops had reached Europe, with around half of them on the front lines.The AEF helped the French Army on the Western Front during the Aisne Offensive (at Château-Thierry and Belleau Wood) in June 1918, and fought its major actions in the Saint-Mihiel and Meuse–Argonne Offensives in late 1918. Organized into two field armies (a third was forming as the war ended), it had a total strength of about two million men in Europe by the time of the Armistice. Planned to eventually consist of nine corps, a total of five AEF corps and two unassigned divisions were in the field by September 1918. It was subsequently involved in the Occupation of the Rhineland.Citation Star
The Citation Star was a Department of War personal valor decoration issued as a ribbon device which was first established by the United States Congress on July 9, 1918 (Bulletin No. 43, War Dept. 1918). When awarded, a 3⁄16-inch (4.8 mm) silver star was placed on the suspension ribbon and service ribbon of the World War I Victory Medal to denote a Citation (certificate) for "Gallantry In Action" was awarded to a soldier, or to a marine or (Navy corpsman) attached to the Army's Second Division (2nd Infantry Division), American Expeditionary Forces. The Citation Star was replaced in 1932 with the introduction of the Silver Star Medal.Doughboy
Doughboy was an informal term for a member of the United States Army or Marine Corps. It was used as early as the Mexican–American War of 1846–1848, but today it mainly refers to members of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. A popular mass-produced sculpture of the 1920s called the Spirit of the American Doughboy shows a U.S. soldier in World War I uniform.
The American usage was adopted in the United Kingdom by about 1917, the year the United States entered World War I.
The term was still in use as of the early 1940s. Examples include the 1942 song "Johnny Doughboy Found a Rose in Ireland," recorded by Dennis Day, Kenny Baker and Kay Kyser, among others; the 1942 musical film Johnny Doughboy; and the character "Johnny Doughboy" in Military Comics. It was gradually replaced during World War II by "G.I."John F. Luecke
John Frederick Luecke (July 4, 1889 – March 21, 1952) was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.
Luecke was born in Escanaba, Michigan to German immigrants and attended the public elementary schools. He was employed as a commercial and railroad telegrapher and station agent and served as a private in Company A, Signal Corps, United States Army, with the Punitive Expeditionary Force in Mexico in 1916 and 1917.During the First World War, he served as a sergeant first class, in Company B, Second Field Signal Battalion, American Expeditionary Forces from 1917 to 1919. He was commissioned a second lieutenant, Reserve Corps, while in Germany. He engaged as a mill worker in a paper mill in Escanaba from 1923 to 1936. Luecke was a member of the Escanaba City Council from 1934 to 1936 and a county supervisor of Delta County from 1934 to 1936. He served in the Michigan Senate in 1935 and 1936.
Luecke was elected as a Democrat from Michigan's 11th congressional district to the 75th United States Congress, serving from January 3, 1937 to January 3, 1939. He was an unsuccessful candidate in 1938, losing to Republican Fred Bradley in the general elections.
In 1939, just after leaving Congress, Luecke was appointed commissioner of conciliation for the United States Department of Labor for upper Michigan and northern Wisconsin.
Luecke died at the age of sixty-two at his home in Escanaba and is interred there at Lakeview Cemetery.John H. Pruitt
John Henry Pruitt (October 4, 1896–October 4, 1918) was a United States Marine during World War I and is one of only 19 people who received two Medals of Honor. The Medals of Honor were presented posthumously for his actions during World War I.John J. Kelly
John Joseph Kelly (June 24, 1898 – November 20, 1957) was a United States Marine who was awarded both the Army and Navy Medals of Honor for his heroic actions on October 13, 1918, at the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge, France during World War I. He was the last surviving of 19 two-time Medal of Honor recipients when he died.John Lee Smith
John Lee Smith (May 16, 1894 – September 26, 1963) was the 32nd Lieutenant Governor of Texas serving under Governor Coke R. Stevenson during World War II and a vocal opponent of Texas labor unions during his tenure.
Born May 16, 1894 at Chico, Texas, and raised in Throckmorton, Texas, Smith was educated at Stamford College and West Texas State Teachers College before teaching school. In 1918, he went to France as a member of American Expeditionary Forces; while overseas, he also studied at a French university. Upon his return, he studied law at Chautauqua, New York, and went back to Throckmorton to practice law.
In 1920, Smith was elected Throckmorton County Judge and was the youngest judge in Texas at the time. He served until 1926, and then spent five years as a lawyer with the state education department in Austin. Smith returned to the private practice of law in 1931.
Smith was elected to the Texas Senate in 1940, and ran for and won the lieutenant governorship in 1942. He was reelected in 1944. While in the Legislature, both as member and presiding officer of the Senate, Smith was a critic of the closed shop; he supported legislation that would prohibit a person from interfering with another person's right to engage in a lawful occupation. He also supported a provision that would make it a felony for any union laborer to commit an act of violence while on strike and the Manford Act of 1943, a union regulation bill.
In 1946, Smith sought the Democratic nomination for governor, but he finished fifth behind Beauford Jester, Homer Rainey, Grover Sellers, and Jerry Sadler. Returning to the private practice of law, he formed a partnership with his son in Lubbock, where he died on September 26, 1963.M1917 light tank
The M1917 was the United States' first mass-produced tank, entering production shortly before the end of World War I. It was a license-built near-copy of the French Renault FT, and was intended to arm the American Expeditionary Forces in France, but American manufacturers failed to produce any in time to take part in the War. Of the 4,440 ordered, about 950 were eventually completed. They remained in service throughout the 1920s but did not take part in any combat, and were phased out during the 1930s.My Experiences in the World War
My Experiences in the World War is the memoir of John J. Pershing experiences in World War I.Pershing's memoir covers two volumes. They were originally published by the Frederick A. Stokes Company of New York City, and released in 1931. Pershing dedicated the work to The Unknown Soldier.Volume I covers the period from Pershing's selection as commander of the American Expeditionary Forces to the German Spring Offensive of 1918.In the second volume, Pershing covers the period from the Allied cooperation that began at the end of the Spring Offensive until the November 14, 1918 Allied victory parade in Paris.Pershing's memoir also contains numerous photos, maps, tables of organization, and other illustrations.My Experiences in the World War received the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for History.Services of Supply, American Expeditionary Forces
Services of Supply (also referred to in the singular as Service of Supply) was the support chain of the American Expeditionary Forces in France, England, Italy and the Netherlands during World War I. It was activated on July 5, 1917 and inactivated on August 31, 1919.Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces
The Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces was the mechanized unit that engaged in tank warfare for the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) on the Western Front during World War I.Third Battle of the Aisne
The Third Battle of the Aisne (French: 3e Bataille de L'Aisne) was a battle of the German Spring Offensive during World War I that focused on capturing the Chemin des Dames Ridge before the American Expeditionary Forces arrived completely in France. It was one of a series of offensives, known as the Kaiserschlacht, launched by the Germans in the spring and summer of 1918.Wilbur Wright Field
Wilbur Wright Field was a military installation and an airfield used as a World War I pilot, mechanic, and armorer training facility and, under different designations, conducted United States Army Air Corps and Air Forces flight testing. Located near Riverside, Ohio, the site is officially "Area B" of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and includes the National Museum of the United States Air Force built on the airfield.William Durward Connor
William Durward Connor (February 22, 1874 – June 16, 1960) was a career United States Army officer who became a superintendent of the United States Military Academy after originally serving in the Corps of Engineers. While stationed in the Philippines, he participated in the Spanish–American War. He later served with the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I.