July 25, 1918 – Full diary entry:
I do not think we will stay on this front long. We will go to Chateau Thierry. This quiet front is only for training. Would like to stay in Alsace.”
As mentioned yesterday, several American divisions were being moved to the Château-Thierry region to assist the French army. The Germans had recently started a drive – with some success – in the hope of capturing Paris and forcing an end to the war before the bulk of the American forces were in place, trained and in the trenches.
What is now known as the Second Battle of the Marne had taken place shortly before this diary entry and I’m sure it was a huge topic of conversation in the 140th.
The Allied attack, which began in the early morning hours of July 18, 1918, was carried out by 24 divisions of the French army, as well as troops from the United States, Britain and Italy, pressing forward in some 350 tanks against the German salient.
The French 6th and 10th Armies led the infantry advance, pushing forward five miles on the first day of the offensive alone. Meanwhile, the French 5th and 9th Armies launched supplementary attacks to the west. By the time the Germans ordered a retreat on July 20, the Allied counteroffensive in the Second Battle of the Marne had driven the Germans back from Chateau-Thierry to Soissons on the Aisne River, effectively reversing all the gains made in the region during the entire German spring offensive of 1918.
For context, here are Paris and Château-Thierry, about 50 miles apart:
And here’s where the 140th was – around 200 miles southeast of Château-Thierry:
Where was Robert today? See the timeline.