Battle Of Belleau Wood And General James Guthrie

1669 Words Jan 14th, 2016 7 Pages
Battle of Belleau Wood and General James Guthrie Harbord

CPT Edwin Romero
MP CCC 01-16
January 14, 2016

The battle of Belleau Wood in World War I was a three-week long battle that was praised and criticized. After the battle, the French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau admitted that if it was not for the Americans, Paris would have been taken over by the Germans. On the other hand, the Third Army Commander Major General (MG) Joseph T. Dickman described the battle as a needless sacrifice and as magnificent fighting but not modern war. Even though the battle was criticized, Brigadier General (BG) James Guthrie Harbord from the 4th Brigade (BDE) U.S. Marine Corps was successful in winning the
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The German infantry was already on the offensive in Belleau Wood when the 4th BDE were given orders to take Hill 142. Through BG Harbord’s vision, the 1/5 took the hill but had many losses. The next day, Harbord had the 2/6 enter the woods and take the village of Bouresches, which was achieved with the unit losing 50 percent of its men. At this point Harbord realized that he had to change his tactics in order to reduce the loss of men and penetrate in through the woods. Because of taking the village of Bouresches and entering the woods, BG Harbord was able to change his tactics that started as a defense counterattack into offensive attacks. The Marines kept moving and attacking the German infantry until 26 June 1918. Because of BG Harbord’s vision of going through the woods, which was not what the French wanted, the 4th BDE stopped the Germans from reaching Paris. BG Harbord commander’s intent was met. Even though the 4th BDE Commanders’ intent was not the same as the French XXI Corps Commander, the Marines followed BG Harbord’s decisions. During Harbord’s initial assault, the Germans had little doubt the Marine line would serve as little more than a speedbump on their road to Paris. BG Degoutte and his staff tried to stop BG Harbord’s intent to penetrate the woods and told him to withdraw and dig trenches in preparation for a defense. BG Harbord ignored the order, and had his Marines to fix bayonets
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