Thu, August 2, 2018

Thunder in the Argonne The Forging of the Modern American Army

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In the early hours of September 26, 1918, determined American Soldiers rushed into ‘No Man’s Land’ to play their part in the last great offensive of World War I. Experienced German Soldiers manned the formidable Hindenburg Defenses, and battled the American Doughboys in the Argonne Forest. On Thursday, August 2, 2018, at 7:15 PM, the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, PA will host Dr. Douglas Mastriano as he speaks about the Argonne Offensive of World War I, the topic his recent book Thunder in the Argonne: A New History of America’s Greatest Battle. Mastriano’s book offers an extensive walkthrough of a pivotal moment in American military history. The battle, waged from September 26, 1918 to the November 11 armistice, saw American forces suffer around 20,000 casualties per week. Despite the losses, the U.S. Army used the lessons learned in the muddy, bloody combat to reshape itself into a modern fighting force.

Supreme Allied Commander Ferdinand Foch ordered the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) to launch an offensive on the Argonne Forest defensive line in a bid to crush the Germans and end the Great War in late September 1918. In this lecture, Dr. Mastriano will recount the AEF's contribution to ending the war through the eyes of American, British, and French leaders and Soldiers. Mastriano will also present the perspective of German defenders at the Argonne Forest, woven with the tales of the heroism of American Soldiers such as Sergeant York and Major Charles Whittlesey of the Lost Battalion. Mastriano will provide frequent anecdotes from individual Doughboys, alongside discussion of the various levels of command decisions contributing to successes or failures in the bloody, yet decisive battle..

Dr. Douglas Mastriano retired as a Colonel in the U.S. Army, serving as the Director of Theater Intelligence, Department of Military Strategy, Planning and Operation at the U.S. Army War College. His first duty station after commissioning in 1986 was on the Iron Curtain with the 2nd Armored Calvary Regiment. Mastriano deployed to Iraq for Operation Desert Storm, and again in Afghanistan where he commanded Soldiers from eighteen different nations. In 2014, Mastriano published his first book, the award-winning Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne. Mastriano earned his PhD from the University of New Brunswick and continues to add to the scholarship on the operations of World War I.