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Thursday, October 3, 2013

18+ Days in A.E.F.'s footsteps: Day 9, St. Mihiel Battle and Montsec Memorial

     St. Mihiel is a little town along a peacefully flowing river in eastern France. South of Verdun, the town was vital to that city and to all points west for its control of train traffic. When the German Army attacked the town and held it in a tight grip in 1918, General Pershing decided to attack their fortifications and open communications and transportation before attacking the Germans in the Meuse River-Argonne Forest region to the north.
     In only 3 days, the Americans fought fiercely taking the ridges and the valley near St. Mihiel.
Today, the area consists of small villages and many farms.
American engineers march into St. Mihiel after taking the area within 3 days fierce fighting in September 1918.
The Montsec Memorial to those AEF forces who took this ridge and the towns below within 3 days is a beautiful tribute to the men who fought here. With a commanding view of the valley that they struggled to take, this Memorial offers a panoramic view—and inspires you to marvel at the feat these men accomplished.
In these few photographs, I attempt to show you a glimpse into their efforts–and their victory.
Montsec Memorial to AEF's 3 day battle of St. Mihiel
A closer view
A panorama into the valley near Thiacourt
Inside the rotunda sits a relief map of the valley that the AEF had to take from entrenched German Army.
Official description of the Battle of St. Mihiel at Montsec Memorial. Do enlarge to read.
Army Medical Corps cadeusus. Atop each pillar of Montsec is the insignia of a corps unit
contributing to the AEF's victory in this valley.
Atop Montsec, this floor map shows the villages AEF soldiers took in the 3 day offensive.
Dedication on steps up to top of Memorial.
To show the irony of both world wars, this plaque details how this land was once again a battleground.

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