<– Part 201 – May 26, 1918 | Part 202 – June 2, 1918 | Part 203 – June 9, 1918

Battle of Cantigny


Soldiers of the Worcestershire Regiment on the south bank of the Aisne, May 27

The Armenians have scored a stunning victory against the Ottoman Empire. At Sardarabad, an Armenian force flanked the entrenched Turks May 27 and attacked them from the rear, forcing a full rout by May 29. This was matched with a similar Ottoman withdrawal at Abaran the same day, and a victory at Karakilisa May 28 (although Ottoman forces were able to enter the town and massacre all 4,000 inhabitants). The Armenian National Council declared the independence of the first Republic of Armenia on May 30 (retroactively dated to May 28).


German forces launched an enormous offensive at Aisne, the third of the war, on May 27, with an artillery bombardment from over 4,000 guns. The British had heavy losses, as reluctance to evacuate the target of the bombardment, the Chemin des Dames Ridge (held by Germany from 1914-1917), was captured last year in the 2nd Battle of the Aisne. The forces were ordered to huddle in the forward trenches. This was followed by a poison gas drop, and then 17 Strumtruppen divisions attacked as soon as the gas lifted. They advanced 25 miles in less than 6 hours, reaching the river Aisne, surprising rear forces, and taking another 9 miles in certain sectors by the end of the day. By May 30, they had captured 50,000 Allied soldiers, and are nearly 40 miles from Paris today.

Positions at the 2nd Battle of the Marne. Belleau Wood is in the south-west quadrant.


May 28 saw American forces’ first major battle, at Cantigny. the U.S. 28th Regiment, 1st Division launched out of their trenches at 06:45, following an hour of artillery bombardment on a small German salient, with a rolling barrage of 100 meters every 2 minutes suppressing German defenders. French forces provided much-needed air support, artillery, mortars, tanks, and flamethrowers. The American forces took their objectives within a half hour and continued to their final objective from there. A German counterattack at 8:30 was stopped, but German artillery harried them all day. A large German counterattack at 17:10 was halted by Major Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., and other counterattacks the following hours and days similarly repulsed. The German salient was reduced, and the American front advanced a mile. The American suffered 1,603 casualties (199 killed) in their force of 4,000, with the Germans suffering 1,400, with another 250 captured. The Americans have proven their worth in Europe.

In Greece, the newly-formed Army of National Defense saw its first action at Skra on May 30. After a day’s artillery bombardment, Allied forces took the town from Bulgarians, and held it from that evening through May 31. The Allied suffered 2,800 casualties to the Bulgarians’ 600 killed, 2,300 POW (with wounded).

On the Western Front, the advancing Germans pierced Allied lines June 1 just to the left of the U.S. 2nd and 3rd Divisions, at Belleau Wood. It was plugged by a forced-march of U.S. Marines through the night of June 1/2, who, despite French orders to dig trenches in the rear, instead were ordered by the American General to “hold where you stand.” The Marines thus have dug shallow positions, allowing them to fight prone with fixed bayonets as needed.

June 2 – “Black Sunday” – the German subĀ U-151 sunk six US ships and damaged two others off the coast of New Jersey. Around a dozen sailors have died, the result of a capsized lifeboat.

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