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Thomas Sweeney
36 articles

Belleau Wood

February 22, 2017 · in Diorama · 10 · 2.1K

At 04:00 on 11 June, Wise's men advanced through a thick morning mist towards Belleau Wood, supported by the 23rd and 77th companies of the 6th Machine Gun Battalion, and elements of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Engineers8 and were cut to pieces by heavy fire. Platoons were isolated and destroyed by interlocked machine gun fire. It was discovered that the battalion had advanced in the wrong direction. Rather than moving northeast, they had moved directly across the wood's narrow waist. However, they smashed the German southern defensive lines. A German private, whose company had 30 men left out of 120, wrote "We have Americans opposite us who are terribly reckless fellows."3

Overall, the woods were attacked by the Marines a total of six times before they could successfully expel the Germans. They fought off parts of five divisions of Germans, often reduced to using only their bayonets or fists in hand-to-hand combat.

On 26 June, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, under command of Major Maurice E. Shearer, supported by two companies of the 4th Machine Gun Battalion and the 15th Company of the 6th Machine Gun Battalion, made an attack on Belleau Wood, which finally cleared that forest of Germans.[8] On that day, Major Shearer submitted a report simply stating, "Woods now U.S. Marine Corps entirely,"9 ending one of the bloodiest and most ferocious battles U.S. forces would fight in the war.

The Germans called the U.S.Marines Teufel Hunden ( Devil Dogs) which The U.S. Marines have claimed as part of their heritage.

I hope I did the Marine Corps proud

Semper Fi


Reader reactions:
2  Awesome

10 additional images. Click to enlarge.

10 responses

  1. Another masterful dio !

  2. Nice job Thomas, enjoyed the read as well as the dio.

  3. Tom, amazing diorama! The trench and groundwork are really well done.
    Where did you get the figures? Are they modifications of WW II figures? I see the BAR gunner, and the box of "potato mashers" is a nice touch.
    I'll always remember the scene in "What Price Glory" when Cagney and the troops are coming thru the field of wheat, and the Maxims open up. It's astonishing what men will do, when properly led and motivated.
    Semper Fi!.

    • Even more interesting to see "the Big Parade" (1927) the first "modern" war movie. Griffith Park here in Los Angeles substituted for Belleau Wood. Bass drums were used to simulated the German artillery fire when shown in theaters.

      The scenarist (what passed for a screenwriter then) was a veteran of the battle, who lost his leg as did the hero of the movie.

  4. Another in a long line of famous battle depictions from your bench, Mr. Sweeny. I most assuredly am NO expert at figure painting, but a suggestion if I may - were it myself, I would consider toning down the "shine" on the uniforms and trying to create a more subdued look (especially when using flash photography). Perhaps some weathering powders or even a matte finish would do the trick. I'm quite sure more dirt would be appropriate for these guys, given the enviornment in which they fought. Just a thought for your next project.

  5. Nice diorama. Tells the story well. I was interested to learn this battle was where the term Devil Dogs came from.

  6. Another nice Dio Tom! Thanks for posting. Would love to see a few pics that are a bit larger to capture the entire dio so we can see how all the elements fit together...

  7. Carl Yes this was the battle where thee term Devil Dogs come from

    Gents thanks for the kind comments on my diorama

    Semper Fi


  8. Very nice work. My third cousin, the late Colonel George Thomas, was a participant (as a Second Lieutenant).

  9. Graig the gloss on the figure is because of the flash on the camera. I held it too close


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