After the US declaration of war on Germany, hundreds of thousands of American troops flooded into France and were thrust into the front line. Among them was the US Marine Corps' 4th Marine Brigade whose first major action was the battle of Belleau Wood in June 1918, fighting elements of Germany's 10th, 28th, and 237th Infantry divisions. Volunteers to a man, the newly arrived Marines faced experienced but war-weary German conscripts whose doctrine had been honed by nearly four years of conflict on the Western Front. During the fighting, the Germans are alleged to have given the nickname “Devil Dogs” to the Marines, and Belleau Wood has become enshrined in the Corps' heritage.
Employing first-hand accounts and specially commissioned artwork, this book investigates three different actions that shaped the course of the bitter battle for Belleau Wood, revealing the interplay of doctrine, tactics, technology, leadership, and human endeavour on the brutal battlefields of World War I.