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 Engineers(p17) 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.”(p113)
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. On that day, Major Shearer submitted a report simply stating, “Woods now U.S. Marine Corps entirely,”(p3) 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
10 additional images. Click to enlarge.