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Château Thierry & Belleau Wood 1918, America's baptism of fire on the Marne: America's Baptism of Fire on the Marne (Campaign) [Kindle Edition]

David Bonk , Peter Dennis
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

In May and June 1918 the newly arrived American Expeditionary Force fought two actions that helped defeat the last German offensive of World War I. At Château Thierry a combined French and American force stopped the Germans from crossing the Marne River. Building on this success the US 2nd Division stopped the German advance on Paris and were given the task of recapturing Belleau Wood. First-hand accounts, photographs, and detailed maps dramatically bring to life these key battles, America's baptism of fire in World War I.

Product Description


"Included in the recount are first-hand accounts, photos and maps - in both black and white and full color - lending to an outstanding survey for specialized, in-depth collections where World War I history is a focus." -"Midwest Book Review" "This book makes you want to learn more about the initial American offensives of WWI... [it] is highly recommended for anyone interested in American's combat efforts in the First World War." -"Indy Squadron Dispatch .".".is an excellent addition to the Osprey campaign series. It is recommended for readers who have interest in World War I as it covers the battles in question with superb descriptions and informative maps, pictures and color plates. Beyond the specific battles, the book covers the build up to the battles with pertinent insights into the makeup and goals of both sides as they approached the battle." -"The Wargamer"

About the Author

David Bonk is a lifelong student of military history and an historical miniatures wargamer. He has written for various wargaming publications, as well as the "Osprey Military Journal." He is a member of the "Historical Miniatures Gaming Society" and served 6 years on the Board of Directors for that organization. He is very interested in the history of the American involvement in World War I and has been wargaming this period for some time. He lives in North Carolina. The author lives in North Carolina, USA.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 46648 KB
  • Print Length: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (23 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0093ZPYTA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #991,878 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Complete bore... 26 May 2007
Title I was looking forward to. Turned out to be a complete bore and very tedious to read.

Just followed meaningless unit numbers through the pages, no personal accounts. If it hadn't been for the maps (which where very...very...basic!)I wouldn't have had a clue what had been described.

One full page map covered a town and a couple lines that showed US MG positions...and!? I want maps where i see action and can cover the action.

Just primitve!

Books a waste of money for what you get and being typically overpriced by Osprey that's an audacity.

It's a con, save your money.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good, but a little disorganized 20 Feb. 2008
By Graves - Published on
This book covers the first blooding of the American Army in World War 1.
In the spring of 1918 the Germans launched a desperate serries of attacks, hoping to destroy the Anglo-French armies before the Americans could arrive in force to tip the balance of power. As French units failed and the road to Paris opened up, American General Pershing was prevailed upon to committ US divisions to try and stem the tide. In the result, some names have become obscured in time and others are legend.

While Bonk's research is good and the narrative is pleasant enough the text can be somewhat confusing from section to section. As is typical with Osprey books the topic is divided into chapters and themes and this may be to blame, either the editors mixed up the chapters or Bonk wrote it in sections. either way, this should have had an editor give it another run through.

Often one chapter seems to rereport details that just been covered. For example as you start to read the chapter on Belleau Wood, he recounts the time line of activity and you find yourself thinking "didn't I just read this?" look back a couple of pages and 'yup' we did all that.

This is not a book that needs padding. Bonk has done his research and knows his stuff. Though curiously while a great deal of attention is paid to the actions in Belleau Wood, Chateau Thierry is given a rush through. Certainly there is attention to detail on the part of the american fighting men, but it just seems odd to give such short shrift to a battle that makes up half the book's title. From the writing the book could have just been "Belleau Wood" and the fighting in Chateau Thierry can be just one of the several preliminary fights covered in the book.

The American division commited here was not part of the great wave of volunteers swelling the ranks. This was a formation of pre-war regulars. Professional soldiers of a quality and number that had not been seen massed on European soil since 1915. Their effect on the Germans was devistating. Like the British regulars at Mons in 1914, the foe could not believe the abilities of the men they were facing, small units smashing much larger German formations. The US Marines so devistated the Germans that to this day they hold proudly the nick names given them by the traumatized Germans-Devil Dogs, Hell Hounds.

The battlerfield contribution of the AEF was very minor in the First World War. For pure scale, when compared to such butcher bills as are attached to names like Somme, Verdun and 3rd Ypres, the Americans were hardly involved in the war. But to the men who were there, who stood in the trenches and went toe to toe with the Germans in places like Belleau Wood it was as bloody an experience as any could want.

Famously in Belleau wood a USMC Sgt led his men forward with a cry of "You want to live forever?" Bonk revisits these men and ensures that are they do infact do just that.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Osprey Books - AEF at Chateau Thierry and Belleau Woods 5 July 2011
By C. Blair - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As with most Osprey historical books this has excellent photos and graphics. It is not as detailed as the official AEF records, but then it shouldn't be. My grandfather fought in this arena with the 24th "Yankee" (New England) Division. It is difficult from this more general account to reconstruct the exact movements of his division. Yet overall, this is an excellent introductory text and it is very well illustrated.
16 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars America Gets all the Credit... 25 Feb. 2007
By R. A Forczyk - Published on
When it comes to the American role in the First World War, there tends to be two diametrically opposed views: the first, is the Euro-centric view that the American contribution was not decisive because the war was decided before U.S. forces arrived on the battlefield in strength. The second, more American-centric view, is that the U.S. intervention was critical in determining the outcome of the war and even if few U.S. troops fought until the final months of the war, the psychological impact of fresh troops raised Allied morale and crushed the German will to resist. Osprey's Campaign #177, Chateau Thierry and Belleau Wood 1918 by David Bonk, falls in the second category. While the author has written a very detailed tactical account of the initial American combat actions in the First World War, the author's narrative is weakened by poor organization and a tendency to be condescending toward the British and French. In many respects, this is a good volume, but it can also be difficult to follow and misleading at times.

Throughout this volume, the author attempts to denigrate the role of the French Army. In the origins of the campaign section on page 7, the author claims that following the 1917 mutinies, the French commander Petain "promised that the French Army would not engage in offensive actions until the Americans arrived." In fact, Petain's Directive No. 1 issued on May 19, 1917 indicated that France would continue to mount limited offensives when conditions were favorable but would avoid costly and futile `breakthrough' offensives. French armies attacked in Flanders in July, Verdun in August and recaptured the Chemin des Dames heights in October 1917. On page 16, the author claims that "by 1917, both the French and British had largely adopted a tactical defensive tactical doctrine." In fact, the British offensives at Arras, Flanders, Ypres and Cambrai in 1917 clearly indicated that the Allies were not sitting on their hands after the U.S. declaration of war. Indeed, it was Petain who emphasized the production of tanks, heavy artillery, aircraft and chemical weapons - all offensive tools. On page 23, the author writes that following the German breakthrough on the Aisne River, "French units were melting away in the face of the German attacks and Paris was at risk." While it is true that the French 6th Army was falling back under pressure, 4 French reserve divisions were rushed up with the 2 U.S. divisions to stop the German attempt to cross the Marne River. On page 24, the author claims that the French Army in 1917 "was a spent force, unable to mount offensive actions." As noted, the French Army continued to mount limited offensives throughout 1917 and it played a major role in the counteroffensive of July-August 1918.

The main narrative starts off rather jumpy, with the initial U.S. dispatch of forces to Europe in 1917 and the first action at Cantigny, then a brief nod to the U.S.-French defense of Chateau-Thierry and then the bulk of the volume focuses on Belleau Wood. Actually, Cantigny gets more coverage than Chateau-Thierry (and a battle scene) and readers may be puzzled by the relationship of these three actions by three different U.S. divisions. It is clear that the author placed his main effort in the forty or so pages on the fighting in Belleau Wood, which is divided into sections covering each day in considerable detail. This section is quite good and the two BEV maps supporting it are beautifully done. However, this volume suffers from two few maps - only 6 instead of the typical 8 in an Osprey campaign title - and they come far too late to be effective in helping the reader understand the flow of the battles. It is not until page 72 that the reader sees a map that actually depicts where Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Wood were located in relationship to each other and the lack of the standard strategic overview map at the beginning is confusing. There are also serious map glitches; one map shows only US units with no German units while another map shows both Allied and German units in the same blue color. The volume has four 2-D maps (assault on Cantigny; defense of Chateau-Thierry; Chemin des Dames Offensive; final attacks at Belleau Wood) and two 3-D BEV maps (June 6, 1918 attacks at Belleau Wood; June 10-11, 1918 attacks. The BEV maps are very good. The two battle scenes (defense of Cantigny; clash of patrols in Belleau Wood, June 14, 1918) by artist Peter Dennis are also quite good.

There are also awkward aspects of military vernacular in the author's prose, such as a tendency to use abbreviations for ranks, or omit ranks for some individuals and to refer to individuals "winning" the Medal of Honor or Distinguished Service Cross, instead of being awarded the medal. In sum, this volume presents the parochial viewpoint that a couple of U.S. divisions turned the tide on the Western Front and played THE critical role in stopping the German drive on Paris. While the author's description of the tactical fighting in Belleau Wood is well done, the operational and strategic context in which this account resides is misleading and flawed. The defeat of Imperial Germany in 1918 was due to a complex series of events occurring over four years of bitter warfare, and the idea that six battalions of U.S. marines saved the Allies from defeat is little more than a chauvinistic conceit.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historians Guide 1 Sept. 2008
By R. Knight - Published on
This is one of the better documented books on this campagin. Tells you of where every unite was at a specific time on both side of the battle field. Plenty of photos & maps with great detail & color. I would strongly recommend this to anyone with intrest in this battle of the Great War.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a favorite 16 July 2014
By Matthew Baumgartner - Published on
I am VERY disappointed in the writing here. The story is fascinating but so badly presented I had trouble finishing the book. Not up to the usual Osprey standard at all.
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