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The Meuse-Argonne Offensive Even as Pershing had been preparing and launching this first big American attack Fochs original plan had been growing by bounds No longer was the offensive to be confined to a British strike along the Somme and an American drive on Mzires The new plan also included a Belgian-British-French attack along the Lys and French attacks in between British and Americans It was to be a grand assault all along the frontsaid Foch Tout le monde la bataille The aim was to cut the enemys rail line at Mzires and Aulnoye the latter in front of the British and thereby force the Germans to retire inside their frontier before winter set in For the offensive Foch had 220 divisions160 in line 60 in reserve They included 42 of the big American divisions although some of these had only recently arrived and Pershing would be forced to cannibalize others to obtain replacements Ten American divisions would still serve with British and French armies Assisted by the French Fourth Army on the left the American attack was to begin first on September 26 It posed a tremendous logistical effort involving rapid transfer of some 800000 men 200000 French moving out of the new American sector west of Verdun and 600000 Americans moving in That it was completed in secrecy and in time for the jump-off was attributable in large measure to the planning of a young officer on Pershings staff Col George C Marshall Again the British and French furnished most of the artillery and tanks 190 French lights and some of the 800 aircraft supporting the attack The terrain over which the advance was to pass was studded with natural and man-made obstacles From high ground east of the Meuse River which formed the right boundary for the attack and from densely wooded high ground of the Argonne Forest in the left of the attack zone German eyes could look down on
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