Monday, June 26, 2006

Today in history:

89 years ago today, the signal went out "Woods now U.S. Marine Corps entirely," marking the end of the Battle of Belleau Wood. In just 26 days, US forces engaged in the fighting around the small forest suffered 9,777 casualties, including 1,811 killed in action.

This battle is also the source of two of the most colorful quotes from the Corps storied history: On their arrival in the sector as fresh troops to blunt the German attack, the green US Marines were greeted by Allied troops falling back in the face of the German onslaught. Apocryphally, when a young USMC lieutenant heard "Retreat! The Germans are coming!" he responded with the now immortal "Retreat, hell! We just got here!" Belleau Wood was also where Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly, two-time winner of the Medal of Honor, rallied his men with the call "Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?"

After the war, the French named the forest Bois de la Brigade de Marine (Wood of the Marine Brigade.)


"Woods now U.S. Marine Corps entirely."

9 comments:

Fairlane64 said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Belleau_Wood

You gotta love wikipedia...

Tam said...

Yup, Wikipedia and a dead tree history of warfare were the sources for my post.

Matter of fact, it was sitting there on the porch reading the dead tree book (BATTLE: A visual journey through 5,000 years of combat, by R.G. Grant) that made me realize that "Hey! Today is June 26!"

I was tickled to find such a detailed entry at Wikipedia on what is, in fairness, a very minor battle of WWI (watch this space on July 1), and even more tickled to find the photo of the USMC memorial in The Wood of the Marine Brigade. :)

Todd said...

Well, at least back then the French appreciated the US.

Porta's Cat said...

two-time winner of the Medal of Honor,

Earned! Earned!

;)

Derick said...

Shouldn't "89 years ago today" be "88 years ..."?

Anonymous said...

A pityful waste of thousands of men for no good purpose. It was mostly a squabble between different branches of an inbred family, an event which had so little to do with the US that our involvement was an act of grand idiocy. A waste of a lot of Germans, too.

Oleg Volk said...

That last comment was mine. It's hard to admire heroism when the fight is over nothing of importance.

phlegmfatale said...

well, anonymous, if some Germans were killed then, it just kept us from having to kill them later on.
Interesting post.

Anonymous said...

This engagement was also the place and time when the Germans came up with the phrase "Teufelshund" which the Marines still have associated with them today. It means "Devil Dogs".