Belleau Wood Part 6

On the 11th of June another American assault on the woods takes place, after a short preliminary bombardment. To the horror of the commanders on the ground, the attack is ordered to approach from the south, across the exposed wheatfields, rather than from the toehold of wood already held in the west.

The marines press into the woods, where they find the Germans have scattered machinegun nests throughout the battlefield. The Germans, in their cunning, had ensured each nest could cover the ones placed next to it - as a nest fell silent and the marines advanced, another one opened up. And another. And another.

"Nothing in all our training had foreseen fighting like this. If there was any strategy in it, it was the strategy of the Red Indian. The only thing that drove those Marines through those woods in the face of such resistance as they met was their individual, elemental guts, plus the hardening of the training through which they had gone. I passed nest after nest of German machine-guns. Out in front of every gun lay Marines where they had fallen. Around the guns themselves there weren't so very many dead Germans. They had worked their guns up to the moment the Marines got among them with the bayonet — and then they had surrendered. Most of my wounded had been worked out. Here and there through the woods stretcher bearers were searching for more. There was some little evidence of that rolling barrage under which we had advanced, in a few shell holes and splintered trees. But not much. It hadn't hurt the Germans enough to mention. But it had given them plenty of notice that we were coming. "

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