In late September and early October 1918, American soldiers entered the largest and bloodiest battle in their nation’s history, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The Argonne Forest, which lent its name to the campaign, has gone down in American history synonymous with the harsh realities of combat on the Western Front.
The name remains in the American psyche much as “Passchendaele” does for Commonwealth nations. Within the boundaries of the Argonne, three American divisions would launch themselves against prepared German defences. Undergoing gruelling advances against veteran troops, the Doughboys would slowly manage to clear through the brush and woods of each successive ridgeline.
Men from all walks of life were represented in the fighting, and some became household names. Major Charles Whittlesey led a group of the 77th Division into history as “The Lost Battalion” and Corporal Alvin York would neutralize several German machine-gun nests with the rest of his platoon from the 82nd Division. Thousands more would never leave France in the attempts to relieve the Lost Battalion, attacking German positions, or climbing the wooded ridges and open valleys.
On this tour, we will explore the places where men such as Whittlesey and York fought, moving through the dense woods and rolling valleys of the Meuse region to learn about this devastating and defining time in history.