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  1. Collapse at Meuse-Argonne: The Failure of the Missouri-Kansas Division
    Collapse at Meuse-Argonne: The Failure of the Missouri-Kansas Division
    Collapse at Meuse-Argonne: The Failure of the Missouri-Kansas Division
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  2. Collapse at Meuse-Argonne: The Failure of the Missouri-Kansas Division

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (3 reviews)
    Price R907.00

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During World War I, the Thirty-fifth Division was made up of National Guard units from Missouri and Kansas. Composed of thousands of men from the two states, the Missouri-Kansas Division entered the great battle of the Meuse-Argonne with no battle experience and only a small amount of training, a few weeks of garrisoning in a quiet sector in Alsace. The division fell apart in five days, and the question Robert Ferrell attempts to answer is why.

The Thirty-fifth Division was based at Camp Doniphan on the Fort Sill reservation in Oklahoma and was trained essentially for stationary, or trench, warfare. In March 1918, the German army launched a series of offensives that nearly turned the tide on the Western Front. The tactics were those of open warfare, quick penetrations by massive forces, backed by heavy artillery and machine guns. The American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) commanded by Gen. John J. Pershing were unprepared for this change in tactics. When the Thirty-fifth Division was placed in the opening attack in the Meuse-Argonne on September 26, 1918, it quickly fell.

In addition to the Thirty-fifth Division’s lack of experience, its problems were compounded by the necessary confusions of turning National Guard units into a modern assemblage of men and machines. Although the U.S. Army utilized observers during the initial years of World War I, their dispatches had piled up in the War College offices in Washington and, unfortunately, were never studied.

The Thirty-fifth Division was also under the command of an incompetent major general and an incompetent artillery brigadier. The result was a debacle in five days, with the division line pushed backward and held only by the 110th Engineer Regiment of twelve hundred men, bolstered by what retreating men could be shoved into the line, some of them at gunpoint.

Although three divisions got into trouble at the outset of the Meuse-Argonne, the Thirty-fifth’s failure was the worst. After the collapse, the Red Cross representative of the division, Henry J. Allen, became governor of Kansas and instigated investigations by both houses of Congress. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker testified in an effort to limit the political damage. But the hullabaloo gradually died down, and the whole sad episode passed into the darker corridors of history.

By focusing on a single event in history, Collapse at Meuse-Argonne offers a unique glimpse into one of the most critical battles of World War I. Historians, as well as the general reader, will find this new perspective on what really happened to the Thirty-fifth Division fascinating.

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Robert H. Ferrell
Brand: University of Missouri
Used Book in Good Condition
University of Missouri
University of Missouri
University of Missouri
University of Missouri
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Collapse At Meuse-Argonne: The Failure Of The Missouri-Kansas Division by Robert H. Ferrall (Professor Emeritus of History, Indiana University), is the story of the American Thirty-Fifth Division during World War I. This military expeditionary force was composed of National Guard units from Missouri and Kansas. Engaging in the battle of the Meuse-Argonne with no previous battle experience and only a minor amount of training, as well as a few weeks of garrisoning in a quiet sector in Alsace, this division and its thousands of men quite literally fell apart in the face of enemy forces in only five days. Historian and academician Robert Ferrall does an impressive work of original scholarship to describe what the problems were (including incompetence officer leadership at the highest levels). The focus upon this single battle offers a "window-in-time" perspective that will prove invaluable for a broader understanding of the difficulties of World War I era frontline combat... Read more
As indicated in the previous review, Dr. Ferrell's thorough research has resulted in what, up to this point, must be considered the definitive study of 35th Division's administrative ineptness, training shortcomings, and combat operations before and during the Meuse campaign. (It should be noted that this ineptness was widespread in the AEF, and far from isolated within 35th Division.) Anyone interested in the history of the AEF should certainly examine this book. I understand that "Collapse at Meuse-Argonne" is just a small part of what will be a comprehensive study of the larger Meuse-Argonne campaign, and if the present work is any indication, every student of the First World War should eagerly anticipate eventual publication of the larger account.

That being said, there are some shortcomings to "Collapse at Meuse-Argonne." The first would be a shortage of maps. Only two are provided, one of northern France showing major rivers and principal population centers, and... Read more
So happy to have found this reference. I returned a crucifix to the Church of Peter and Paul which was used as a triage center during WW I. My Grandfather had been a medic there. The town of Neuvilly de Argonne treated us like royalty. I was really happy I had done some homework. Thank you Dr. Ferrell
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