In July 1918, sensing that the German Army had lost crucial momentum, Supreme Allied Commander Ferdinand Foch saw an opportunity to end the First World War. In drafting his plans for a final grand offensive, he assigned the most difficult sector -- the dense Argonne forest and the vast Meuse River valley -- to the American Expeditionary Forces under General John J. Pershing. There, the Doughboys faced thickly defended German lines with terrain deemed impossible to fight through. From September 26 through the November 11 armistice, US forces suffered more than 20,000 casualties a week, but the Allies ultimately prevailed in a decisive victory that helped to end the Great War.
In Thunder in the Argonne, Douglas V. Mastriano offers the most comprehensive account of this legendary campaign to date. Not only does he provide American, French, and British perspectives on the offensive, but he also offers -- for the first time in English -- the German view. Mastriano presents a balanced analysis of successes and failures at all levels of command, examining the leadership of the principals while also illuminating acts of heroism by individual soldiers.
The Meuse-Argonne Offensive is widely regarded as one of America's finest hours, and the amazing feats of Sergeant Alvin York, Major Charles Whittlesey of the Lost Battalion, and Lieutenant Sam Woodfill -- all accomplished in the midst of this maelstrom -- echo across the ages. Published to coincide with the centennial of the campaign, this engaging book offers a fresh look at the battle that forged the modern US Army
"The modern US Army was born in the bloody 1918 battle of the Meuse-Argonne. As Colonel Douglas V. Mastriano recounts the story, this painful and traumatic beginning shaped the character of the American Army and endures one hundred years later. Read this book!" -- Major General David T. Zabecki, USA (Ret.)
"Mastriano expertly weaves into his narrative the stories of individuals who made a difference. Of course, there were thousands of instances of valor, witnessed and otherwise, and it's impossible to capture them all. But Mastriano has done a good job of selecting a representation of the grit and determination of the Americans who fought in the offensive. This book is recommended to those who want to read a fine account of this offensive and to those who would like to learn about the German side of the fighting." -- Roads to the Great War
"Mastriano enriches his narrative with an assortment of personal stories, highlighting "feats of heroism and sacrifice on both sides" during "desperate and intense" fighting. He also supplements his text with an impressive collection of photographs depicting soldiers, rather than generals, trenches, and technology. His command of the sources enriches the book throughout." -- Michigan War Studies Review
"This work takes a fresh look at the AEF's Meuse-Argonne offensive. Mastriano succinctly covers the early years of the war through America's entry, and on to the defeat of the German Kaiserschlacht. He then gives us an excellent analysis of the final Allied strategy to win the war with a series of coordinated blows. Thunder in the Argonne is an excellent read for anyone interested in World War I, the AEF, or the American soldier under fire." -- NYMAS Review