To the Limit of Endurance
A Battalion of Marines in the Great War
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
Series: C. A. Brannen Series
Title Page, Copyright Page
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In August 1917 Maj. Thomas Holcomb assembled a new battalion of marines at Quantico, Virginia. Ten months later he would lead his men into combat. As Holcomb assessed the problem of preparing his command for the Western Front, he may well have believed he had everything he required...
1. The First to Fight
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When Congress declared war on Germany in April 1917, the Marine Corps was better prepared to fight than the rest of the country, but nonetheless was not ready to take the field immediately. With a strength of 17,400, the commandant, Maj. Gen. George Barnett, could boast a nucleus of disciplined...
2. The AmericanExpeditionary Forces
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On February 8, 1918, Major Holcomb and his marines filed down the gangway of the USS Henderson at the port of Saint- Nazaire and into a war far different from the one America had entered ten months previously. Germany had gambled that the same unrestricted submarine campaign that brought...
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3. The Triangle Farmand Bouresches
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Still seeking a decisive blow to finish off the British, General Ludendorff launched Plan Blücher on May 27. The purpose of his third great offensive of 1918 was to pull French reserves away from Flanders in preparation for another bid there to finish off the British Expeditionary Force...
4. Belleau Wood
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Major Holcomb assembled his weary companies on the morning of June 12 in a wooded area five miles west of Lucy, where the marines enjoyed regular hot chow and bathed in a local stream. Some helped themselves to fresh clothing and boots that the newly arrived replacements...
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The marines of 2 / 6 had departed Belleau Wood on July 5 mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. For the next eleven days, the battalion enjoyed a true respite, first in a reserve position well behind the lines, then from July 13 to 16 in the riverside town of Nanteuil- sur- Marne...
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The two- month period after Soissons constituted the single major reshaping period for 2 / 6. The battalion would not see major fi ghting again until the Saint- Mihiel offensive in mid- September 1918...
7. Blanc Mont
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With only two weeks after Saint- Mihiel before its next battle, 2 / 6 had time for a mere six days of training. This brief period could not replicate the extensive training the battalion had conducted in August and early September. Nonetheless, it provided an opportunity for the veterans to familiarize...
8. The Meuse- Argonne
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Capt. Kirt Green had his work cut out for him. His predecessor, Captain Powers, had let down the tired young men of the 80th Company assembled around him. The rank and file disdained two key leaders, Lieutenant Skoda and First Sergeant Dean, as cronies of the battalion...
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The battalion that huddled about its bonfires on November 11 along the Meuse scarcely resembled the one that had climbed off the French trucks behind the Triangle Farm five and a half months earlier. Owing to the flood tides of attrition and replacement, few of the faces...
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Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 36 b&w photos. 12 maps. 4 figs.
Publication Year: 2007
Series Title: C. A. Brannen Series