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Exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I

The St. Mihiel Offensive. Photocopied map with annotations, 1918. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (137.00.00)

St. Mihiel Offensive

On September 12, 1918, southeast of Verdun, France, General John J. Pershing launched the first American-led offensive of the war, hurling the recently organized American First Army—half a million Americans and four French divisions under U.S. command—against positions the Germans had held around the town of St. Mihiel for nearly four years. Mounting frontal assaults from three sides, Pershing's force suffered thousands of casualties as they fought through curiously light resistance, having attacked as the Germans were in the midst of withdrawing. On September 16 the American offensive ended in victory.