After the United States declared war on Germany, the government immediately set off an upsurge of patriotic propaganda all over the country.
“Armed, armed to the maximum extent, armed without limit!” This is President Wilson’s call to fight to the nation.
Meanwhile, Congress soon enacted the conscription act of 1917.
According to this law, in just a few months, the U.S. Army and the National Guard recruited nearly 700000 volunteers, and another 3 million were recruited.
By November 1918, there were 4.
8 million men and women in the U.S. Army. Such a huge army is something that you can’t even think of in times or times.
As soon as the horn of war sounded, Theodore Roosevelt, who had long been idle at home, hurried to the scene with military passion.
At the age of 59, he was blind in one eye and had been weak since he contracted malaria on that famous jungle expedition to the Amazon basin.
Nevertheless, he insisted that the Department of the army and the White House approve him to form a division volunteer army, which he personally led to France to fight.
Roosevelt was convinced that his uncle’s action would do great good to boost morale at home and abroad, so he arranged for him to see the president at the White House.
Who knows, the current president’s lukewarm words have greatly disappointed the former president, who is “old man talking crazy about teenagers”.
Wilson said: Heroic surface actions cannot be carried out in modern wars.
The United States will rely on the regular army instead of the volunteer army.
After the meeting, Wilson said to his assistant, “I think the best way to treat Mr.
Roosevelt is to ignore him.
” Although Theodore Roosevelt, an old fighter, was so slighted and ridiculed, his enthusiasm remained unabated.
Before long, he sent all his four sons to the front.
Before leaving, Quentin, the youngest son, comforted him: “let’s turn your ambition into action.
” Apart from the mutual prejudice of the two long-time political enemies, Wilson’s words are indeed very reasonable.
It should be noted that the enemy that the United States is about to face is the German empire that dominated the 20th century, not Spain that was dying in 1898.
Commanding a modern war is by no means as simple as Roosevelt led the “reckless cavalry” to attack kettle mountain.
In other words, if the successful experience of the last war is copied into the guidance of the next war, it will undoubtedly be.
So who will command this unprecedented American expedition? President Wilson and Secretary of the army Baker weighed and decided to choose Major General Pershing.
John Pershing was born in 1860 in laclaide, Lynn County, Missouri.
After graduating from West Point Military Academy in 1886, he served in the cavalry.
He was a brave, strict and highly dedicated commander, known as the “hammer”.
He participated in the bloody war against Indians and served as a tactical instructor at West Point.
He joined the Spanish American war in 1898.
Later, he served in the US military in the Philippines several times and made many military achievements on Mindanao, which was loved by Theodore Roosevelt.
When he saw that the law did not allow him to promote Pershing from captain to major or Colonel, Roosevelt simply passed over 822 officers higher than Pershing and directly promoted Pershing to brigadier general.
In Wilson’s era, Pershing was still “the holy family is not declining” and was highly valued.
During the US Mexico border crisis, as the commander of the expedition army, Pershing once again performed well and won great praise.
All this has undoubtedly consolidated his position in the eyes of senior people in Washington.
On May 26, 1917, Secretary of the army Baker signed an order authorizing Pershing to command the American Expeditionary Force.
It is said that the minister told people privately that he was only going to give two orders to Pershing, who was the commander of the US Expeditionary Force: “one order is to go and the other order is to come back.
” This shows how much he trusts Pershing.
Historically, the Secretary of the US Army and the commander of the combat forces have always been involved in all kinds of disputes between right and wrong, which are “constantly cutting and disorderly”.
There are some who are hostile to each other and tear down Taiwan.
It is necessary to abuse the attacker.
There are also those who go to court and quarrel in a mess.
Why, in the baker Pershing era alone, did the two “turn fighting into friendship” and have such a good relationship? It turned out that Baker was born in Virginia in the southern United States.
His father was a veteran under General Robert Lee.
Later, in the process of studying the history of the civil war, he always held the view that one of the lessons of the civil war is that the civil government must minimize its intervention in military commanders.
Baker accepted his father’s view from an early age and kept it in mind.
Therefore, when he finally waited for the opportunity to deal with the relationship with Pershing, although he was very knowledgeable about the army business and was praised by all regular officers as “the leader of the Secretary of the army”, he deliberately adopted the policy of giving up power on the decision-making issue of commanding the US military in France.
He publicly admitted that his main duty is to build an army that can be led by Pershing and then give it to Pershing to fight.
Coincidentally, Wilson’s attitude towards Pershing was very similar to that of secretary Baker.
Although Wilson was a competitive and power loving president by any standard, he was not interested in military work and most wanted the generals to take care of the war.
Under normal circumstances, he did not care about how to exercise careful leadership over the military sector, nor did he pay attention to what strategy to adopt.
Instead, he talked with relish and devoted himself to wartime diplomacy and preparations for peace.
After the war, when he maneuvered and glorified at the world-famous Paris peace conference, he never went to any place where American soldiers fought and died.
His indifference to war, soldiers and bloodshed can be seen from this.
In this way, Pershing received “all the powers and duties that American laws, regulations, systems and customs can give a commander commanding the army on the battlefield in wartime, and enjoy the same powers and duties as the directors of the Department in peacetime and wartime”, “In a word, he has all the power required to actively carry out the war until final victory in accordance with the spirit of this instruction”.
In this regard, anyone familiar with the history and anecdotes of the U.S. military sighed: even if grant, who was also the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Army and the commander of the Potomac corps, had more power than General Pershing does now! Always veryThe confident Pershing soon used this power, which was called “unparalleled after grant”, very skillfully and incisively.
Three weeks before the first division of the U.S. Army began to arrive in France, General Pershing, who was transferred back from the Mexican border, crossed the ocean and came to France to prepare for the establishment of the headquarters of the European and American forces to collect relevant intelligence in order to estimate the number of troops needed by the army sent to France.
After consulting with France and Britain and observing the current situation of their troops, Pershing put forward a general establishment design scheme in July 1917.
He suggested that the number of U.S. troops sent to France far exceeded Wilson’s assumption in his state of war address on the use of all U.S. forces, and asked to send more than 1.
1 million troops to France before December 31, 1918.
Pershing believes that the United States must send a complete army composed of 20 divisions and support forces, because such an army “is the minimum force for a complete and balanced combat organization in modern war”.
In addition, Pershing believes that the French and British forces are in a state of decline: the French army has exhausted its troops after the battle of Verdun, some divisions have been cancelled from the sequence list and can no longer recover, and the morale of the French army is almost lost.
The situation of the British army was not much better.
They threw their troops into the slaughterhouse for launching the 1917 offensive.
Only a strong U.S. Army can defeat the Germans, so put 1 million people in France, and “it should not be understood that this is the maximum force needed in the French battlefield”.
The French Ministry will propose a plan for the development of 2339 troops in 1918 and a supplementary plan for the deployment of 2339 troops in the previous 12 months.
However, Pershing’s estimate of the prospects of the British and French armies has become more and more pessimistic, and the development of things confirms his concern.
The 1917 offensive launched by the British army finally died in vain, with more than 200000 casualties.
By the end of 1917, the number of British soldiers in France was 100000 less than that in January of that year, and the losses could no longer be made up.
The Bolshevik Revolution took place in November 1917, and Russia was bound to withdraw from the war.
Therefore, Pershing estimated that Germany could concentrate 250-260 divisions on the western line to deal with the 160 divisions of the allies.
The German offensive developed smoothly in 1918, and the form of open field war reappeared on the Western Front for the first time since 1914.
Therefore, Pershing revised the estimation of the scale of the American Expeditionary Force and believed that a unit composed of 66 combat divisions and 3 million people should be sent by may 1919.
He put forward this estimate on June 21, 1918, when the German army had been arrayed at Fort tierli on the man river to launch the strongest offensive against Paris 40 miles away.
On the third day after meeting with the commander-in-chief of the Allied forces, Field Marshal Ferdinand Fuxu, Pershing put forward his estimate: “in order to win in 1919, we must have a quantitative advantage, which can only be achieved when our troops stationed in France reached 80 divisions in April and 100 divisions in July 1919.
” Although the Army Department had doubts about whether it was necessary to assemble 100 large American divisions in France at that time, it still promised Pershing to establish 98 divisions by June 1919, of which 80 were deployed in France.
The original plan was to send 1372339 people in 30 divisions to France before December 31, 1918.
Now the plan has been expanded and it is required to hand over 2.
35 million people in 52 divisions to Pershing within the above-mentioned period.
In order to achieve this goal, the recruitment age was relaxed to 18 to 45 years old.
Before Pershing’s “plan of 80 divisions” was realized, the German army collapsed surprisingly quickly because of the setback of its offensive in 1918, thus announcing the end of the war.
But when the armistice came, the United States was successfully achieving this target.
At this time, 62 infantry divisions have been formed, of which 43 are already in France.
With the support force, the total number is nearly 2 million.
That is to say, on the major issue of the number and scale of the US expeditionary force, which should have been decided by the highest authority of the state, Pershing played the leading role alone, and Washington completely obeyed Pershing’s baton.
Then, Washington officials learned again and again about Pershing’s one-sided and arbitrary style of work.
The first thing happened in the summer of 1918.
With the acceleration of the process of the United States participating in the battle, the Army Department and the general staff considered establishing a logistics supply command parallel to Pershing’s command.
General Gossels was responsible for the unified command of the support forces and bases in Europe.
It is reasonable to say that this has only advantages and no disadvantages.
Moreover, general Gossels has served as acting Quartermaster commander and director of the procurement, storage and Transportation Department of the general staff before, and he is familiar with all the supply work of the army.
But Pershing does not want to cut his power.
He insisted that it was a traditional privilege for theater commanders to take charge of the support work in their own theater.
In order not to let the Army take action first, pan Xingli transferred major general James Hubbard, his first chief of staff, to the chief of supply service of the whole army, and added more power to Hubbard’s headquarters.
Seeing that the raw rice has been cooked, the Army Department can only acquiesce.
Another thing is also related to logistics.
At that time, each combat division of the US Army consumed 25 wagons of supplies every day.
Therefore, the post of commander of the US expeditionary force naturally attracted the saliva of many professional officers because of his high power.
However, Pershing chose a civilian, William winterbury, general manager of the Pennsylvania railway company, and specially got him the rank of brigadier general to command the transporters of the American Expeditionary Army.
Although many people talked about the matter one after another, Pershing ignored it and remained the same.
Of course, what best reflects Pershing’s unique character and is most likely to attract criticism is his perfectionist training plan.
Originally, according to the regulations of the Army Department, infantry could be sent to France after four months of training in the United States.
Many veterans who fought in Mexico think more simply.
In their view, the war was just a replica of a rapid suppression operation.
Like Pancho Villa, the Germans would flee for their lives as soon as they fought, and then return home in triumph.
However, the fact immediately made Americans realize that what they participated in was, not only are the French and British increasingly impatient, but even some American officers think Pershing’s training plan has gone too far.
General March, the chief of staff of the army, has always disliked Pershing.
Of course, he is extremely cynical about Pershing’s practice, He spread such an argument among the officers of the staff: “The actual effect of Pershing’s policy is as follows: as a major U.S. military force, the Division has been trained for four to six months, and is often mainly carried out in the U.S. mainland camp.
The morale is extremely high, and they are eager to fight immediately as soon as they arrive in France.
But they repeat the training and exercises they have received in the United States again and again, which has worn away their enthusiasm and edge.
” For a long time, even minister Baker, who has always had great trust in Pershing, agreed with the above views.
Only because of his friendship, he did not rashly interfere with Pershing.
Later, he was really worried.
Finally, he couldn’t help writing a letter to Pershing.
The letter said: we just found two things related to training in China, and obviously no one knew or thought about them before we joined the war.
First, it may take nine months or a year to train new recruits into soldiers in peacetime without the stimulation of real war.
Now that the fierce war is going on, people are eager to meet their standards in order to participate in the battle.
In this case, it doesn’t take such a long time.
It must take us only three months to train a soldier more than nine months in peacetime.
Second, we also know that if people stay in domestic training camps for too long, they will be depressed and impatient, Its harm is as much as the benefits of long-term training.
“I think you will see that the people trained here for four months are close to being ready to be used in combination with your veterans and experienced troops.
Therefore, at least as far as infantry is concerned, long-term training in Europe seems unnecessary.
” It is unclear whether minister Baker’s proposal has promoted the rise of pan.
But one thing is certain: in the face of the German offensive in 1918 and in order to build a U.S. Army that can participate in the counterattack of the Allied forces, Pershing finally had to use his divisions that had not completed the scheduled comprehensive training for the attack.
In fact, since the moment they set foot on the land of France, although many American officers are about to fight an unfamiliar war with unfamiliar enemies in unfamiliar places, they learn by doing, and soon adapt to the environment and enter the role.
Many people gradually become independent experts.
Under their command and drive, The entire US Army has become a new force that no one can underestimate.
Among them, George Marshall, Douglas and little George performed best.
George Marshall was just a temporary lieutenant colonel in the staff of the first infantry division of the United States.
Later, when he became a famous general, some people thought that he had not participated in a front-line battle in the whole first World War.
If this means that he didn’t really jump out of the trench and fight the Germans hand to hand with his rifle and bayonet, it’s true.
But it would be completely wrong to say that he spent most of his time in the rear without experiencing the dangers, hardships and hardships of trench warfare.
During World War I, he had fought and dodged more gas bombs, bullets and shells than many American officers.
At that time, Marshall’s task was to keep the division headquarters of the first division informed of the situation of the forward position, check the deployment and material supplies, and pay close attention to the morale of the troops.
He carried out his tasks carefully, so he stayed in the front trench more often than in the command post.
He often walked to the front line alone, wearing only a gas mask, revolver, dry food and a heavy raincoat to resist the constant cold rain in this gloomy and terrible battlefield.
It was often foggy there, but he wanted it, because it was foggy, so he could climb out of the winding, potholed and rat infested trenches, wade through the mud in the no man’s land, and walk from one place to another without being found by the enemy.
He was used to going forward under the fire of artillery.
Whenever he heard the shell roaring over his head following the trajectory, he instinctively fell to the ground.
Like every soldier in battle, he was most afraid of one thing – one of the exploding shells would splash poison gas all over him.
Among the dozens of battles Marshall had participated in, nothing impressed him more than the battle in the village of Contini.
It was a small village occupied by the German army.
The allied army needed it, and the 1st Division was ordered to take it down.
The soldiers fought hard and finally attacked.
They were ordered to hold their positions.
They withstood the most intense gunfire of the German army in the final stage of World War I and defended the village.
Marshall almost missed the battle of Contini.
Just before the battle began, as he rode towards the trench, the horse slipped in the mud and fell down.
One of his feet was stuck in the horse D è ng and dragged some way.
He broke his ankle.
He just endured the great pain until the battle was over.
As a soldier and a man’s husband, Contini has become a new starting point on his personal development path.
Marshall’s outstanding performance attracted the special attention of commander-in-chief Pershing.
Subsequently, a transfer order transferred him from the 1st division to the general staff of the American Expeditionary Force stationed in Chaumont, France.
Pershing’s headquarters is located in a large vineyard south of Paris.
It has not been damaged by the war.
It is far away from the mud, blood and battle noise on the western line.
For Marshall, this is a strange environment.
He later wrote: “the new colleagues here have been planning and organizing an army of millions of people for a year.
Problems such as shipping tonnage, unloading port, dock and warehouse construction in the supply and material transportation department are bothering them every day.
Train the methods of new French divisions and try to get to the seventh five year plan (cannon) Artillery and British heavy artillery, the manufacture of tanks and the handling of complex relations with the French and British forces are the subjects of their daily conversation and discussion.
” Living in the war room of Pershing headquarters may not be as life-threatening as in the first division, but Marshall found it very tiring, and he felt even more painful when he had to make major decisions for the operation of the armyTo serve in the tank force.
When he first came into contact with the tank, he didn’t like it and called it “coffin with wheels”.
The supreme commander of the tank force was brigadier general sair rocenbach.
He mainly represented Pershing to contact high-level figures in all aspects and deal with complex policy issues during the formation of the tank force.
As for the specific formation and training tasks, Captain Patton (later promoted to major and Colonel) was responsible for them.
Patton faced many difficulties and worked hard to build a tank force.
His task is to train and command two tank battalions, which will form the first brigade of tank soldiers.
Barton has neither experience nor training in this regard.
Therefore, he started from scratch and was willing to be a student.
He first studied in tank schools in Britain and France.
At the same time, whenever he used tanks in combat operations, he always came to the scene and observed carefully.
Finally, he chose a light tank – French double 6-ton Renault tank to equip his two battalions.
He thought that few Germans were killed by heavy tanks, but his brave soldiers suffered.
Then button went into intense training.
He built training centers and barracks.
The soldiers of the expeditionary army swarmed in and asked to be transferred to the tank force.
This gave Patton a lift.
He became more and more convinced that without tanks, he could not open the gap in the enemy’s position.
“There are many weapons to kill, but I believe tanks can kill the enemy most.
” At that time, the tank was very primitive, with a rough shell and dark inside.
The two crew members had to beat each other to exchange information – kicking the driver on the back was to tell him to move forward, and patting him on the head was to tell him to stop.
There is no communication between tanks, and there is no communication between tanks and the infantry they support.
With a top speed of 4 miles per hour, these tanks often can’t keep up with advancing infantry, and machine failures often make them useless.
By July 1918, Patton had formed six companies, generally recognized as the most powerful force in the American Expeditionary Force.
Patton, on the other hand, is known as “the cruelest military discipline instructor” in the expeditionary force.
In the subsequent battles of Saint miyer and Mezz Argonne, Patton led this newly born tank force to fight and rush all the way and achieved remarkable victory.
He was wounded in a battle before the end of the war.
The way he was injured was also unique: when Patton’s tank group “rumbled” to only 40 yards from the German soldiers, he jumped out of the tank and ran to lead the tank forward.
As he ran forward, he shouted abuse at the top of his lungs.
The soldiers sitting in the tank could not hear what he shouted, and the German soldiers in front of him could not understand what he said.
Just then, a shell exploded beside him and Patton was thrown into a crater.
By the time he returned from his injury, the war was over.
In this way, Patton handed over a satisfactory answer to his old officer, General Pershing, with his impressive record.
In Pershing’s view, the criterion for evaluating an officer is whether he is a “fighter”.
Few people can get his praise.
However, when talking about Barton, Pershing always couldn’t restrain his inner love and repeatedly praised: “Barton is a boy! He is a real fighter.
” Now let’s change the subject.
At that time, a new service, the air force, was emerging on the stage of the first World War.
It gave the war a new angle and deepened the development from the plane operation to the three-dimensional and vertical operation in the past.