With Their Bare Hands General Pershing, the 79th Division, and the battle for Montfaucon

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2017-02-21
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing

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With Their Bare Hands traces the fate of the US 79th Division-men drafted off the streets of Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia-from boot camp in Maryland through the final years of World War I, focusing on their most famous engagement: the attack on Montfaucon, the most heavily fortified part of the German Line, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in 1918.

Using the 79th as a window onto the American Army as a whole, Gene Fax examines its mistakes and triumphs, the tactics of its commander General John J. Pershing, and how the lessons it learned during the Great War helped it to fight World War II. Fax makes some startling judgments, on the role of future Army Chief-of-Staff, Colonel George C. Marshall; whether the Montfaucon battle-had it followed the plan-could have shortened the war; and if Pershing was justified in ordering his troops to attack right up to the moment of the Armistice.

Drawing upon original documents, including orders, field messages, and the letters and memoirs of the soldiers themselves, some of which have never been used before, Fax tells the engrossing story of the 79th Division's bloody involvement in the final months of World War I.

Author Biography

Gene Fax has written over two hundred research reports, policy papers, and proposals. An engineering graduate of MIT, he spent eight years conducting research and tactical studies in antisubmarine warfare for the U.S. Navy. He is the cofounder of the Cadmus Group, Inc., which specializes in development, evaluation, and policy research in environmental protection, energy efficiency, and sustainable development. In preparation for With Their Bare Hands, Gene spent seventeen years researching archives.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Setting the Stage
Chapter 2: Creating an Army
Chapter 3: Training: The Army at War with Itself
Chapter 4: Americans Reach the Battlefield
Chapter 5: First Army Takes the Field
Chapter 6: Concentration
Chapter 7: The Germans
Chapter 8: Over the Top and Up the Hill, September 26
Chapter 9: Left, Right, and Straight Ahead, September 26
Chapter 10: To Montfaucon and Beyond, September 27
Chapter 11: Bois de Beuge and Nantillois, September 28
Chapter 12: Bois 250 and Bois des Ogons, September 29-30
Chapter 13: Interlude: Troyon Sector, October 1-28
Chapter 14: Heights of the Meuse, October 29-November 10
Chapter 15: Armistice to Home, November 11, 1918-July 1919

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