Battle of Belleau Wood


99 years ago, Marines began the battle that inspired U.S. Army Gen. John J. Pershing to remark, “The deadliest weapon in the world is a United States Marine and his rifle.” The Battle of Belleau Wood (1–26 June 1918) occurred during the German Spring Offensive in World War I, near the Marne River in France. The battle was fought between the U.S. 2nd (under the command of Major General Omar Bundy) and 3rd Divisions along with French and British forces against an assortment of German units including elements from the 237th, 10th, 197th, 87th, and 28th Divisions. The battle has become a key component of the lore of the United States Marine Corps. After the battle, the French renamed the wood “Bois de la Brigade de Marine” (“Wood of the Marine Brigade”) in honor of the Marines’ tenacity. The French government also later awarded the 4th Brigade the Croix de guerre. Marines actively serving in the Fifth and Sixth Marine regiments are authorized to wear the French Fourragère on the left shoulder of their uniform to recognize the legacy and valor of their regimental predecessors. An official German report classified the Marines as “vigorous, self-confident, and remarkable marksmen. Legend and lore has it that the Germans used the term “Teufelshunde” (“devil dogs”) for the Marines.
Battle of Belleau Wood


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