<– Part 202 – June 2, 1918 | Part 203 – June 9, 1918 | Part 204 – June 16, 1918

Belleau Wood, June 6

Ernest A. Janson

A US tanker, the Herbert L. Pratt, was damaged by a mine laid by U-151, on June 3.

With the Ottoman forces still within striking range of their capital, the Treaty of Batum was signed June 4 between the Turks and the First Republic of Armenia, Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Georgia. The Ottomans received several areas of free passage, allowing railroads to be built between strategic areas. Germany, meanwhile, has dispatched an Expedition to the Caucasus to secure oil wells from falling into the hands of either Russia or the Turks.

Germans forces were within 35 miles of Paris on June 3, but fatigue, lack of reinforcements, and supply issues forced them to halt their advance June 6, having suffered 130,000 casualties to the Allies’ 127,000. On June 9, yet another massive offensive, “Gneisenau,” was launched at Matz, but the Allies were ready, having learned of it from German prisoners. The Germans, nonetheless, show signs of rapid advancement in the south.

At Belleau Wood, the US Marines were attacked June 3 but waited until the Germans were within 100 yards to open fire, cutting down multiple waves of enemy soldiers and forcing them to retreat and try again. The Marines have repelled numerous German attacks for several days. The Allies counter-attacked June 6, and, despite failing to adequately scout, and advancing by bayonet across an open field, taking horrific casualties from German machine guns, the Marines took their target – Hill 142 – and have held it. In a counter-attack by the Germans, one Gunnery Sergeant, Ernest A. Janson, spotted 12 Germans crawling towards his position, five of whom had light machine guns. Shouting a warning to his group, he charged them, bayonetted the two officers, and forced the rest to abandon their weapons and flee. He has been nominated for two Medals of Honor – one each by the Army and Navy – making him the first Marine to receive it.

Daniel Daly

The Black Watch in trenches at Arsuf after the fighting

That evening, the Marines were ordered to take the Belleau Wood in the second phase of the attack. Again crossing through an open field, swept by machine gun fire, Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly, a two-time Medal of Honor recipient for actions in the China Relief in 1901, and the US Invasion of Haiti in 1915, shouted to his men, “Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?” Despite again taking heavy casualties – the most in Marine history – they took their position on the south of the wood.
By the night of June 7/8, both sides were exhausted, and attacks had failed. To break the German defense in the wood, a massive artillery bombardment on the woods devasted the forest.

On June 8, in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, British forces took two observation hills at Arsuf from the Ottomans, repelling two counter-attacks, thus providing the Allies with an observation post to see the Turkish rear, and denying the Turks the same.

In Persia, the Ottoman forces recaptured Tabriz. The rebelling Czechoslovak Legion continues occupying Russian cities, defeating Red Guards near Samara, and forming an anti-Bolshevik government there on June 8.


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