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World War I

World War I had been raging for nearly three years before the US entered the war declaring against Germany on 6 April 1917. Already, WWI had seen many new elements on the battlefield. Powered flight had only occurred ten years earlier, but different types of airplanes had been built with unique purposes. Metal tanks made their first battlefield appearances as did the first aircraft carriers and submarines played a strategic role in Naval warfare. The US did not enter this war with technologies that were ahead of their allied or enemy powers but rather provided men and arms.

General John J. Pershing commanded the American Expeditionary Force or as it was known the AEF. Before the Americans could reinforce the British and French lines, the Germans began an offensive in the Spring of 1918, attempting to split the Allies. The Germans got within long artillery range of Paris but problems of re-supply and reinforcement halted the advance and by August the British, French and Americans were on the offensive to be known as the Hundred Day Offensive that would bring about the end of the war.

Infantry Weapons

WWI was defined by trench warfare but new weapons and tactics were deciding factors to the conflict. Machine guns such as the British Vickers and the Lewis Gun along with the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) became integral to the fighting forces. Tanks and smaller company tactics began to replace large company charges from the trenches across 'no man's land' and created tactical advantages for the allies. The Germans introduced a flamethrower to the battle but at the time it had limited effect.

Infantry Divisions

1st Division (The Big Red One)
2nd Division (Indian Head Division)
3rd Division (Rock of the Marne)
4th Division (Ivy Division)
5th Division (Red Devils, Red Diamond)
6th Division (Red Star)
7th Division (Hourglass Division)
8th Division (Pathfinder Division)v 9th Division (Old Reliables)
26th Division (Yankee Division)
27th Division (New York Division)
28th Division (Keystone Division)
29th Division (Blue and Grey Division)
30th Division (Old Hickory Division)
32nd Division (Red Arrow Division)
33rd Division (Prairie Division)
35th Division (Santa Fe Division)
36th Division (Texas Division)
37th Division (Buckeye Division)
42nd Division (Rainbow Division)
77th Division (Statue of Liberty Division)
78th Division (Lightning Division)
79th Division (Cross of Lorraine Division)
80th Division (Blue Ridge Division)
81st Division (WIldcat Division)
82nd Division (All-American Division)
83rd Division (Thunderbolt Division)
89th Division (Rolling W)
90th Division (Tough Ombres)
91st Division (Pine Tree Division)
92nd Division (Buffalo Soldiers)

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Naval Weapons

Germany's use of the submarine (U-Boat) led to the development hydrophones also known as sonar equipment for detection and then depth charges to attack the submerged sub.

Aviation

Balloons were used for observation and directed artillery as well as provided visual reconnaissance of the battlefield. They were protected by aircraft and anti-aircraft weapons.

Aircraft was initially used for recon and ground attack by the dropping of grenades. Some aircraft were developed as aerial artillery platforms. To combat this fighter aircraft were created and the dog fight was born. Advancements on the aircraft included single and dual machine guns then air to air rockets and cannon. Then larger planes were created that became strategic bombers. War in the air added a whole new dimension to warfare and one of the most colorful commanders of the AEF was Brigadier General Billy Mitchell who was an early proponent of the role of air power.

Campaigns

Cambrai: 20 November - 4 December 1917
Somme Defensive: 21 March - 6 Apri1 1918
Lys: 9 - 27 April 1918
Aisne: 27 May - 5 June 1918
Montdidier-Noyon: 9 - 13 June 1918
Champagne-Marne: 15 - 18 July 1918
Aisne-Marne: 18 July - 6 August 1918
Somme Offensive: 8 August - 11 November 1918
Oise-Aisne: 18 August - 11 November 1918
Ypres-Lys: 19 August - 11 November 1918
St. Mihiel: 12 - 16 September 1918
Meuse-Argonne: 26 September - 11 November 1918
Vittorio Veneto: 24 October - 4 November 1918

World War I mobilized over 100 million people; over 15 million combatants and civilians were killed in what would become known as the War to End All Wars.




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Honor Roll

If you have any data on units and those who served we would be interested in adding it to our digital project-library; please Contact Us

Education

One way we promote public education of military history is through our exhibits. View some pictures of recent Exhibits.



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