|This article is a stub. It is short and in need of expansion. Why not help out?|
American Soldier 1: Tomorrow we'll be going over the top—finally up against the Hun. So far it's felt too much like a holiday.
American Soldier 2: You seen the machine guns they got, the artillery, the planes? Damn it, odds of us getting through this campaign gotta be about 25 to 1 against.
American Soldier 3: Them devils ain't so tough. Us boys'll knock out their fortifications easy.
American Officer: Break this Hindenburg Line and finish this war. French been fighting for four years. They say just four minutes up against these fortified German lines and we'll look just like them. Yeah, like an army of living dead.
American Officer: General Pershing has ordered an attack along the Meuse River. First, we must secure Shrapnel Corner, this fortified trench line here. Then we move into their rear, take and hold this chateau. Following this assault, we will continue our push towards this railway hub and capture it quickly. This will clear the way into the Argonne Forest.
American Officer: We stand victorious, they are beaten. You are all heroes. We rushed into this fight and broke the resistance of this brutal foe, but it's only the beginning. Now we must move into the Argonne Forest and finish this war once and for all!
Narrator/Announcer: The Germans were using defense-in-depth tactics designed to lure the enemy towards much stronger rear defenses. The victorious doughboys marched into the Argonne Forest, unaware of the deadly defenses awaiting them ahead.
German Soldier: (in German) We have nothing to fear from these Americans. They are simply boys who think that war is like Samson with his shield and spear and sword, like David with his sling. They do not know war is the conflict of smoke stacks—a combat of the driving wheel and engine, of splintered steel and toxic gas in melted lungs. When we dug this trench we dug not dirt alone but legs, arms, skulls, helmets, all the debris of this mighty struggle. This is reality of what they now face.
German Officer: General von der Goltz has ordered us to stand our ground under our first trench line at Shrapnel Corner. If the Americans are too great in numbers, we will fall back to this chateau and fight them there. Our third defensive line is back here by this Railway Hub. Remember, we are strong in defense, in depth. Let them come.
German Officer: We lost this battle to these unpredictable Americans. First the Friedenstorm (sic), now here beside the Meuse River, but we few, we live to fight again. In the Argonne Forest, we shall never be broken.
American Soldier 1: Yeah, they're dug in good. So what? They got no food in their bellies. They're shivering out there.
American Soldier 2: Black Jack Pershing ain't got a clue. Hun've got bunkers made of solid concrete. Guns the size of houses.
American Soldier 3: Concrete pillboxes, strafing guns, mustard gas. At the river, I saw a dozen of us blown to fragments by a shell. The spirit of Liberty ain't got no protection against those things. I say it's time us greenhorns put old Hun out of his misery.
American Soldier 4: I got my bayonet fixed, my rifle loaded and I'm ready to kill every last damn one of those bastards.
American Officer: The Germans occupy several strongholds within the Argonne Forest. Our priority is to take the Ritz Bunker here. Once this position is secure, we must attack and hold the bridge at Hellfire Junction. From here, we launch our attack on their lines and take control of these Abbey Ruins. Remember, the Germans have been strengthening these fortifications for years, so this won't be easy.
American Officer: Nice work, boys! With the French victorious too, the whole German line is collapsing. They'll be surrendering by nightfall. We did what we came to do. Let's pray this is the war to end all wars!
Narrator/Announcer: The success of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive came at a high price and remains, to this day, the bloodiest battle in American history. This outcome broke the German Army, leading to an armistice and peace, the allies' nations dictating terms.
German Soldier: (in German) Rumor has it that the war is almost over, but it feels unreal it could ever happen. We have been fighting on this front for four years now. The only thing we know is real is death. Most of us have forgotten there is an outside world. When we try to cheer ourselves up with stories from before the war, we can scarcely believe that these are, in fact, true stories. No, I don't believe that this is the end, not here in this forest, not today. We have no fear left in us.
German Officer: Reconnaissance suggests that the Ritz Bunker will be their point of attack, so be ready to defend. Should we lose this position, immediately fall back to this bridge at Hellfire Junction and hold the line there. Failure would mean retreating to the Abbey Ruins. This is where we achieve victory, or this is where we die.
German Officer: The Americans have been stopped. The Hindenburg Line is secure. We can now negotiate a truce on equal terms. Let this mark the end of slaughter, the end of damage, the end of hate.
Narrator/Announcer: One can only speculate what might have happened if the German Army had successfully defeated the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. After four years of war, the will of the German people was breaking and its empire collapsing. With American troops still arriving in Europe, an Allied victory would still have been likely.