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Lafayette, we are here! by Zach Timmons

Author says: what if the Imperial German Army had defeated Blackjack Pershing's American Divisions at Belleau Wood? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

On June 27th, 1917: the first American troops arrive in France, at the Atlantic port of Saint-Nazaire. The Americans were derided by the veteran Brits and French as being too unexperienced, and General John J. Pershing (pictured), the commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), put his troops through a strict training program for the next four months.

However, when the first American troops entered into combat on the Western Front in late October, they took heavy casualties from German attacks. This worried the Allied high command, who feared a disaster in the spring when the Germans would likely launch a massive offensive.

This was realized on March 21, 1918, when the Germans launched Operation Michael, the beginning of their Spring Offensive. They initially attacked the railway junction at Amiens, capturing it after taking heavy casualties from British troops. The Germans then launched Operation Georgette, their drive to seize the Channel ports of Calais, Boulogne, and Dunkirk, on April 4. Although they suffered large losses here as well, by April 12 the Germans were in posession of Boulogne, thereby cutting off the other two major ports to the north.

This was a huge blow to the Allies, as a large number of their munitions and other supplies came in from Britain through these ports. On March 27, the Germans launched Operation Blucher-Yorck, an assault towards Paris, between Soissons and Reims. This was a huge success, with almost the entire Allied front collapsing.

The Germans were almost in Paris by June 1 when they encountered the American 2nd and 3rd Divisions at the Belleau Wood. In an extremely vicious and bloody battle, the Germans forced the US Marines in the wood to retreat, one of the few in the Marines' history. By June 4 the Germans were on the outskirts of Paris and were firing artillery on targets throughout the city. Although the Germans had by this point suffered extreme casualties during the offensive, they were determined to take Paris and drove into the city on June 8, marching down the Champs-Elysees.

Author says this story was originally posted on Zach's Blog. To view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site for Lafayette, we are here!.

Other Stories by Zach Timmons

Balanced Ticket The Kreisau Circle Obituary of President Morrison

Zach Timmons, Guest Historian of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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