Chapter VIII.


Two out of Three.

Two out of every three American soldiers who reached France took part in battle. The number who reached France was 2,084,000, and of these 1,390,000 saw active service in the front line.

American combat forces were organized into divisions, which, as has been noted, consisted of some 28,000 officers and men. These divisions were the largest on the western front, since the British division numbered about 15,000 and those of the French and Germans about 12,000 each. There were sent overseas 42 American divisions and several hundred thousand supplementary artillery and service of supply troops. Diagram 43 shows the numerical designations of the American divisions that were in France each month. The numbers in the columns are the numbers of the divisions in France each month, and in every case the numbers of those arriving during the month are placed at the top of the column, while those designating the divisions already there are shown below.

Diagram 43. Numerical designations of American divisions in France each month.

Of the 42 divisions that reached France 29 took part in active combat service, while the others were used for replacements or were just arriving during the last month of hostilities. The battle record of the United States Army in this war is largely the history of these 29 combat divisions. Seven of them were Regular Army divisions, 11 were organized from the National Guard, and 11 were made up of National Army troops.

American combat divisions were in battle for 200 days, from the 25th of April, 1918, when the first Regular division after long training in quiet sectors, entered an active sector on the Picardy front, until the signing of the armistice. During these 200 days they were engaged in 13 major operations, of which 11 were joint enterprises with the French, British, and Italians, and 2 were distinctively American.

At the time of their greatest activity in the second week of October all 29 American divisions were in action. They then held 101 miles of front, or 23 per cent of the entire allied battle line. From the middle of August until the end of the war they held, during the greater part of the time, a front longer than that held by the British. Their strength tipped the balance of man power in favor of the Allies, so that from the middle of June, 1918, to the end of the war the allied forces were superior in number to those of the enemy.

The total battle advances of all the American divisions amount to 782 kilometers, or 485 miles, an average advance for each division of 17 miles, nearly all of it against desperate enemy resistance. They captured 63,000 prisoners, 1,378 pieces of artillery, 708 trench mortars, and 9,650 machine guns. In June and July they helped to shatter the enemy advance toward Paris and to turn retreat into a triumphant offensive. At St Mihiel they pinched off in a day an enemy salient which had been a constant menace to the French line for four years. In the Argonne and on the Meuse they carried lines which the enemy was determined to hold at any cost, and cut the enemy lines of communication and supply for half the western battle front.

The maps and diagrams in this chapter show in more detail the part American troops played in the allied endeavor, something of the scale and character of their operations, and several comparative records of the 29 combat divisions.

Tipping the Balance of Power.

The place American troops took in the allied undertaking is illustrated in diagram 44, which shows in kilometers the length of front line held by the armies of each nation on the allied side during the year 1918. In January American troops were holding 10 kilometers, or 6l miles, of front in quiet sectors. In April their line had lengthened to 50 kilometers. In July this figure was doubled and in September tripled. The high point was reached in October, with 29 divisions in line, extending over a front of 162 kilometers, or 101 miles, nearly one-quarter of the entire Western front. These changes are shown on the diagram in the upper portions of the columns in solid black.

Diagram 44. Kilometers of front line held by armies of each nation.

The length of front shown as occupied by the French includes the lines held by the Italian Second Army Corps. On November 11, 1918, the Italians held 14 kilometers, or 2.5 per cent, of the western front.

The fluctuations in the heights of the columns show how the allied lines gradually lengthened as the five German offensives bellowed them out in big salients and rapidly shortened as the German retreats began.

Another measure of American participation is the effect caused by the rapid arrivals of American troops on the rifle strength of the allied armies. One of the best indexes of effective man power is the number of riflemen ready for front-line service. For example, there are 12,250 rifles in an American division and smaller numbers in those of other armies.

Diagram 45 shows the rifle strength of the allied and German armies on the western front from April 1 to November 1, 1918.

Diagram 45. Rifle strength of allied and German armies on the western front.

The dotted line shows the German rifle strength at the beginning of each month and the solid line the allied strength. On the 1st of April the Germans had an actual superiority of 324,000 riflemen on the western front. Their strength increased during the next two months but began to drop during June. At the same time the allied strength, with the constantly growing American forces, was showing a steady increase, so that the two lines crossed during June. From that time on allied strength was always in the ascendancy and since the French and British forces were weaker in October and November than they were in April and May, this growing ascendancy of the Allies was due entirely to the Americans. By November 1 the allied rifle strength had a superiority over the German of more than 600,000 rifles.

Thirteen Battles.

American troops saw service on practically every stretch of the western front from British lines in Belgium to inactive sectors in the Vosges. On October 21, 1917, Americans entered the line in the quiet Toul sector. From that date to the armistice American units were somewhere in line almost continuously.

It is difficult to cut up the year and 22 days which intervened into well-defined battles, for in a sense the entire war on the western front was a single battle. It is possible, however, to distinguish certain major operations or phases of the greater struggle. Thirteen such operations have been recognized in which American units were engaged, of which 12 took place on the western front and 1 in Italy. Battle clasps will be awarded to the officers and men who participated in these engagements. These battles are named and the number of Americans engaged is shown in table 7.

Table 7. Thirteen major operations in which Americans participated.

The first major operation in which American troops were engaged was the Cambrai battle at the end of the campaign of 1917. Scattering medical and engineering detachments, serving with the British, were present during the action but sustained no serious casualties.

German Offensives.

The campaign of 1918 opened with the Germans in possession of the offensive. In a series of five drives of unprecedented violence the imperial Great General Staff sought to break the allied line and end the war. These five drives took place in five successive months, beginning in March. Each drive was so timed as to take advantage of the light of the moon for that month. Map 9, on this page, shows the ground won by the Germans in each of the offensives. The arrows indicate the points at which American troops went into the battle, and the small numbers are the numerical designations of the American divisions taking part.

Map 9. The five great German offensives of 1918.

The first drive opened on March 21 on a 50-mile front across the old battle field of the Somme. In 17 days of fighting the Germans advanced their lines beyond Noyon and Montdidier and were within 12 miles of the important railroad center of Amiens with its great stores of British supplies. In this battle, also known as the Picardy offensive, approximately 2,200 American troops, serving with the British and French, were engaged.

The attack upon Amiens had been but partially checked when the enemy struck again to the north in the Armentières sector and advanced for 17 miles up the valley of the Lys. A small number of Americans, serving with the British, participated in the Lys defensive.

For their next attack (May 27) the Germans selected the French front along the Chemin des Dames north of the Aisne. The line from Rheims to a little east of Noyon was forced back. Soissons fell, and on May 31 the enemy had reached the Marne Valley, down which he was advancing in the direction of Paris. At this critical moment our Second Division, together with elements of the Third and Twenty-eighth Divisions were thrown into the line. By blocking the German advance at Chateau-Thierry, they rendered great assistance in stopping perhaps the most dangerous of the German drives. The Second Division not only halted the enemy on its front but also recaptured from him the strong tactical positions of Bouresches, Belleau Wood, and Vaux.

The enemy had by his offensives established two salients threatening Paris. He now sought to convert them into one by a fourth terrific blow delivered on a front of 22 miles between Montdidier and Noyon. The reinforced French Army resisted firmly and the attack was halted after an initial advance of about 6 miles. Throughout this operation (June 9-15) the extreme left line of the salient was defended by our First Division. Even before the drive began the division had demonstrated the fighting qualities of our troops by capturing and holding the town of Cantigny (May 28).

There followed a month of comparative quiet, during which the enemy reassembled his forces for his fifth onslaught. On July 15 he attacked simultaneously on both sides of Rheims, the eastern corner of the salient he had created in the Aisne drive. To the east of the city he gained little. On the west he crossed the Marne but made slight progress. His path was everywhere blocked. In this battle 85,000 American troops were engaged---the Forty-second division to the extreme east in Champagne, and the Third and Twenty-eighth to the west, near Chateau-Thierry.

Allied Offensives.

The turning point of the war had come. The great German offensives had been stopped. The initiative now passed from Ludendorff to Marshal Foch, and a series of allied offensives began, destined to roll back the German armies beyond the French frontier. In this continuous allied offensive there may be distinguished six phases or major operations in which the American Expeditionary Forces took part.

These six operations are shown on map 10, on this page, in which the solid arrows indicate points where American divisions entered the line, and the broken arrows the distances over which they drove forward. In four of the six operations the American troops engaged were acting in support of allied divisions and under the command of the generals of the Allies.

Map 10. American participation in the allied offensives of 1918.

The moment chosen by Marshal Foch for launching the first counteroffensive was July 18, when it was clear that the German Champagne-Marne drive had spent its force. The place chosen was the uncovered west flank of the German salient from the Aisne to the Marne. The First, Second, Third, Fourth, Twenty-sixth, Twenty-eighth, Thirty-second, and Forty-second American Divisions, together with selected French troops, were employed. When the operation was completed (August 6) the salient had been flattened out and the allied line ran from Soissons to Rheims along the Vesle.

Two days later the British struck at the Somme salient, initiating an offensive which, with occasional breathing spells, lasted to the date of the armistice. American participation in this operation was intermittent. From August 8 to 20 elements of the Thirty-third Division, which had been brigaded for training with the Australians, were in the line and took part in the capture of Chipilly Ridge. Later the Twenty-seventh and Thirtieth Divisions, who served throughout with the British, were brought over from the Ypres sector and used in company with Australian troops to break the Hindenburg line at the tunnel of the St. Quentin Canal (Sept. 20-Oct. 20).

In the meantime simultaneous assaults were in progress at other points on the front. On August 18 Gen. Mangin began the Oise-Aisne phase of the great allied offensive. Starting from the Soissons-Rheims line, along which they had come to rest August 6, the French armies advanced by successive stages to the Aisne, to Laon, and on November 11 were close to the frontier. In the first stages of this advance they were assisted by the Twenty-eighth, Thirty-second, and Seventh-seventh American Divisions, but by September 15 all of these were withdrawn for the coming Meuse-Argonne offensive of the American Army.

The day after the opening of the Oise-Aisne offensive the British launched the first of a series of attacks in the Ypres sector which continued with some interruptions to the time of the armistice and may be termed the "Ypres-Lys offensive." Four American divisions at different times participated in this operation. The Twenty-seventh and Thirtieth were engaged in the recapture of Mount Kemmel August 31 to September 2. The Thirty-seventh and Ninety-first were withdrawn from the Meuse-Argonne battle and dispatched to Belgium, where they took part in the last stages of the Ypres-Lys offensive (Oct. 31 to Nov. 11).

With the organization of the American First Army on August 10, under the personal command of Gen. Pershing, the history of the American Expeditionary Forces entered upon a new stage. The St. Mihiel (Sept. 12-16) and Meuse-Argonne (Sept. 26-Nov. 11) offensives were major operation planned and executed by American generals and American troops. The ground won in each is shown by the shaded areas in map 10.

In addition to the 12 operations above mentioned, American troops participated in the Battle of Vittorio-Veneto (Oct. 24 to Nov. 4), which ended in the rout of the Austrian Army.

The Battle of St. Mihiel.

The first distinctly American offensive was the reduction of the St. Mihiel salient carried through from September 12 to September 15, largely by American troops and wholly under the orders of the American commander in chief. The positions of the various American divisions at the beginning of the offensive and on each succeeding day are shown on map 11 on this page. The arrows indicate the advance of each division. In the attack the American troops were aided by French colonial troops, who held the portion of the front line shown in dashes on the left of the map. The Americans were also aided by French and British air squadrons.

Map 11. The Battle of St. Mihiel.

The attack began at 5 a. m., after four hours of artillery preparation of great severity, and met with immediate success. Before noon about half the distance between the bases of the salient had been covered and the next morning troops of the First and Twenty-sixth Divisions met at Vigneulles, cutting off the salient within 24 hours from the beginning of the movement.

Two comparisons between this operation and the Battle of Gettysburg emphasize the magnitude of the action. About 500,000 Americans were engaged at St. Mihiel; the Union forces at Gettysburg numbered approximately 100,000. St. Mihiel set a record for concentration of artillery fire by a four-hour artillery preparation, consuming more than 1,000,000 rounds of ammunition. In three days at Gettysburg Union artillery fired 33,000 rounds.

The St. Mihiel offensive cost only about 7,000 casualties, less than one-third the Union losses at Gettysburg. There were captured 16,000 prisoners and 443 guns. A dangerous enemy salient was reduced, and American commanders and troops demonstrated their ability to plan and execute a big American operation.

The Battle of the Meuse-Argonne.

The object of the Meuse-Argonne offensive, said Gen. Pershing in his report of November 20, 1918, was to draw the best German divisions to our front and to consume them." This sentence expresses better than any long description not only the object but also the outcome of the battle. Every available American division was thrown against the enemy. Every available German division was thrown in to meet them. At the end of 47 days of continuous battle our divisions had consumed the German divisions.

The goal of the American attack was the Sedan-Mezières railroad, the main line of supply for the German forces on the major part of the western front. If this line were cut, a retirement on the whole front would be forced. This retirement would include, moreover, evacuation of the Briey iron fields, which the Germans had been using to great advantage to supplement their iron supply. The defense of the positions threatened was therefore of such importance as to warrant the most desperate measures for resistance. When the engagement was evidently impending the commander of the German Fifth Army sent word to his forces, calling on them for unyielding resistance and pointing out that defeat in this engagement might mean disaster for the fatherland.

Map 12. The Battle of the Meuse-Argonne.

Map 12 shows the progress of the American action, giving the lines held by divisions on different days. On the first day, the 26th of September, and the next day or two after that, the lines were considerably advanced. Then the resistance became more stubborn. Each side threw in more and more of its man power until there were no more reserves. Many German divisions went into action twice, and not a few three times, until, through losses, they were far under strength. All through the month of October the attrition went on. Foot by foot American troops pushed back the best of the German divisions. On November 1 the last stage of the offensive began. The enemy power began to break. American troops forced their way to the east bank of the Meuse. Toward the north they made even more rapid progress, and in seven days reached the outskirts of Sedan and cut the Sedan-Mezières railroad, making the German line untenable.

In the meantime (Oct. 2 to 28) our Second and Thirty-sixth Divisions had been sent west to assist the French who were advancing in Champagne beside our drive in the Argonne. The liaison detachment between the two armies was for a time furnished by the Ninety-second Division.

In some ways the Meuse-Argonne offers an interesting resemblance to the Battle of the Wilderness, fought from May 5 to 12, 1864, in the Civil War. Both were fought over a terrain covered with tangled woods and underbrush. The Wilderness was regarded as a long battle, marked by slow progress, against obstinate resistance, with very heavy casualties. Here the similarity ends. The Meuse-Argonne lasted six times as long as the Battle of the Wilderness. Twelve times as many American troops were engaged as were on the Union side. They used in the action ten times as many guns and fired about one hundred times as many rounds of artillery ammunition; The actual weight of the ammunition fired was greater than that used by the Union forces during the entire Civil War. Casualties were perhaps four times as heavy as among the Northern troops in the Battle of the Wilderness.

The Battle of the Meuse-Argonne was beyond compare the greatest ever fought by American troops, and there have been few, if any, greater battles in the history of the world. Some of the more important statistics of the engagement are presented in Table 8.

Table 8. American data for the Meuse-Argonne Battle.

Record of 29 Combat Divisions.

Twenty-nine combat divisions achieved the successes and bore the losses of active operations. The story of their achievements can not be told within the limits of this account. There are, however, certain fundamental records which give us a picture of the accomplishments of these divisions. They tell us how long each division served in the front line; how far each advanced against the enemy; how many t prisoners each captured; and how heavily each suffered.

The length of service of each division in quiet and in active sectors of the line is shown in diagram 46. The First Division was the first in line and the first to enter an active sector. It reached France in June, 1917, went into line in October and into an active sector in April, 1918. The next three divisions in order of length of service all reached France in 1917.

Diagram 46. Days spent by each division in quiet and active sectors.

Three of the 29 divisions were still serving their apprenticeship and had not seen much severe battle service at the time of the signing of the armistice. They were the Sixth, the Eighty-first, and the Eighty-eighth. It is interesting that of the total of 2,234 days which American divisions spent in line, four-tenths were in active sectors.

Diagram 47 pictures the accomplishments of different divisions by showing the number of kilometers each advanced against the enemy, and in graphic form the percentage of the total kilometers advanced which was carried through by each division. The length of the advance depends in each case on the length of service of the division, the duty assigned to it (whether offensive or defensive), the nature of the terrain to be covered, the strength and effectiveness of opposing enemy forces, artillery support, etc. Hence, conclusions as to the relative efficiency of divisions can not be drawn from these figures alone.

Diagram 47. Kilometers advanced against the enemy by each division.

The Seventy-seventh National Army Division, composed largely of troops from New York City, made the greatest advance---a total of 711 kilometers, or nearly 45 miles. This was more than 9 per cent of the ground gained by the divisions. If the advances are turned into miles the total advance is 485 miles, and the average gain for each division 17 miles.

Diagram 48 on the number of German prisoners captured is subject to the same qualifications as the preceding diagram. The figures for number of prisoners taken are from the official records of the different divisions. The total is somewhat higher than the rolls of American prisoner stockades have shown, but the difference is probably in prisoners turned over to the French or British. The total number of Americans taken prisoner by Germans was 4,480.

Diagram 48. German prisoners captured by each division.

The price paid for these achievements was 256,000 battle casualties; a heavy price when counted in terms of the individuals who gave their lives or suffered from wounds; a small price when compared with the enormous price paid by the nations at whose sides we fought. Diagram 49 gives the roll of honor of the divisions for battle casualties.

Diagram 49. Casualties suffered by each division.

The figures given were corrected to June 3 and constitute the final record of the office of the adjutant general of the expeditionary forces. Battle deaths include both killed in action and died of wounds. Under wounded are included many slightly injured. Artillery brigade losses are included in the figures of the divisions to which they were originally assigned.

Under "others" are grouped the casualties of several different kinds of units. These are in the following table:

Table 8b. Casualty figures for "others."

The troops not in divisions were largely artillery, headquarters, train, and other special services attached to groups of divisions operating together in corps and armies.

The Ninety-third Division is worthy of special comment. It has not been listed among the combat divisions because it was always incomplete as a division. It was without its artillery and some other units, and was brigaded with the French from the time of its arrival in France in the spring of 1918 until the signing of the armistice. Its service in the line was fully as long as that of many of the so-called combat divisions. This is indicated by a comparison of its casualties with those in the other divisions. The division was made up of colored soldiers from National Guard units of various States.

Casualties in replacement and depot divisions are partly accounted for in two ways. In the first place the artillery of a number of these divisions went into action separately. Secondly, some replacement units joining combat divisions suffered casualties before the papers involved in their transfer had been completed. Hence they were reported in their original organizations.

Among the 10,709 "other" casualties there is one most interesting and not inconsiderable group, some of the members of which are included in "troops not in divisions," and the rest among the casualties of replacement and depot divisions. These are the men who deserted to the front. They went A.W O.L. (absent without leave) from their organizations in the zone of supplies or in the training areas, and found their way up to the battle line, where many of them took part in the fighting and some of them were killed or wounded. These cases were so numerous that Gen. Pershing made special arrangements by which trained men who had rendered good service behind the lines could, as a reward, secure opportunity to go to the front and take part in the fighting.

In the next chapter a more careful analysis is made of American casualties, and the battle and disease deaths in this war are compared with the records of the United States and other nations in previous wars.


1. Two out of every three American soldiers who reached France took part in battle. The number who reached France was 2,084,000, and of these 1,390,000 saw active service at the front.

2. Of the 42 divisions that reached France 29 took part in active combat service. Seven of them were Regular Army divisions, 11 were organized from the National Guard, and 11 were made up of National Army troops.

3. American divisions were in battle for 200 days and engaged in 13 major operations.

4. From the middle of August until the end of the war the American divisions held during the greater part of the time a front longer than that held by the British.

5. In October the American divisions held 101 miles of line, or 23 per cent of the entire western front.

6. On the 1st of April the Germans had a superiority of 324,000 in rifle strength. Due to American arrivals the allied strength exceeded that of the Germans in June and was more than 600,000 above it in November.

7. In the Battle of St. Mihiel 550,000 Americans were engaged, as compared with about 100,000 on the Northern side in the Battle of Gettysburg. The artillery fired more than 1,000,000 shells in four hours, which is the most intense concentration of artillery fire recorded in history.

8. The Meuse-Argonne Battle lasted for 47 days, during which 1,200,000 American troops were engaged.

9. The American battle losses of the war were 50,000 killed and 206,000 wounded. They are heavy when counted in terms of lives and suffering, but light compared with the enormous price paid by the nations at whose sides we fought.



Chapter IX.


The Deadliest War.

Of every 100 American soldiers and sailors who took part in the war with Germany, 2 were killed or died of disease during the period of hostilities. In the Northern Army during the Civil War the number was about 10. Among the other great nations in this war, between 20 and 25 in each 100 called to the colors were killed or died. To carry the comparison still further, American losses in this war were relatively one-fifth as large as during the Civil War and less than one-tenth as large as in the ranks of the enemy or among the nations associated with us.

The war was undoubtedly the bloodiest which has ever been fought. One possible competitor might be the Crimean War, in which the casualty rate per 100 men was equally heavy. The British forces in the Crimean War lost 22 of every 100 men, the French 31, the Turkish 27, and the Russian 43. More than four-fifths of the losses were, however, deaths from disease, while in the recent war with Germany disease deaths were inconsiderable as compared with battle deaths. The forces engaged in the Crimean War were, moreover, much smaller.

Table 9. Battle deaths in armies engaged in present war, 1914-1918

The total battle deaths in the recent war were greater than all the deaths in all wars for more than 100 years previous. From 1793 to 1911 total deaths in war may safely be estimated at something under 6,000,000. Battle deaths alone from 1914 to 1918 totaled about 7,000,000. An estimate of the losses of the principal nations engaged is shown in Table 9. As the final records are not yet wholly complete, these figures are approximate in some cases. Only deaths resulting directly from action are included. The total deaths from all causes is very much larger, as some of the armies lost more heavily from diseases and privation than from battle.

The table shows that Russia had the heaviest losses, in spite of the fact that she withdrew from the war after the fall of 1917. American losses are third from the bottom of the list. German losses were thirty-two times as great as the losses of the United States, tile French twenty-eight times, and the British eighteen times as large.

That American losses were not more severe is due to the fact that our armies were only in heavy fighting for 200 days. Diagram 50 shows the number of battle deaths occurring each week through 1918. The first rise in the columns, the last part of May, reflects the battle of Cantigny. The second rise, in Julys indicates the heavy losses which took place when American divisions were thrown in along the Marne salient at the beginning of the allied offensive. The heaviest losses were in the Meuse-Argonne drive from the last week of September until November 11. The weekly deaths during a part of that period were around the 6,000 mark.

Diagram 50. Battle deaths each week.

Battle Deaths by Services.

The chances of death are much heavier in the Infantry than in any other branch of the service. Diagram 51 compares the various services in respect to the chances of death in each. The bars show how many battle deaths there were among each 1,000 men in the various services who reached France. Of each 1,000 enlisted men in the Infantry 52 were killed in action or died of wounds. The officers show a higher rate. The most striking difference between the death rates of officers and men appears in the Air Service. Here the casualties among officers are much higher than among men because in our service all aviators are officers.

Diagram 51. Battle deaths among each thousand officers and men who reached France.

Wounded, Prisoners, and Missing.

For every man who was killed in battle, six others were wounded, taken prisoner, or reported missing. The total battle casualties in the expeditionary forces are shown in Table 10. The number who died of wounds was only 7 per cent as large as the number who were wounded. The hospital records show that about 85 per cent of the men sent to hospitals on account of injuries have been returned to duty. About half the wounded were reported as slightly wounded and many of them would not have been recorded as casualties in previous wars. Except for 373 who died, all the prisoners shown in the table have now been returned.

Table 10. Battle casualties in the American Expeditionary Forces.

The number of men reported as missing has been steadily reduced from a total of 78,000 to the figure 46 shown in the table. This reduction has gone on without clearing any case as dead except on evidence establishing the fact of death. The total number of cases cleared as presumed dead will be about 1,550. The results of clearing up the records of more than 21,000 cases, exclusive of prisoners, which were reported in the casualty cables to this country, are shown in diagram 52. The largest number have been found in hospitals, while a considerable number have returned to duty after being lost from their units.

Diagram 52. Final disposition of cause of men reported missing in action.

The work of the Central Records Office of the American Expeditionary Forces in clearing up the cases of men listed as missing has been more successful than that done in any of the other armies or in any previous great war. The missing lists of the other nations still run into the hundreds of thousands. The most recent figures for France and Great Britain are 264,000 and 121,000, respectively.

Battle and Disease Losses.

The total number of lives lost in both Army and Navy from the declaration of war to July 1, 1919, is 125,500. Deaths in the Army, including marines attached to it, were 115,660. About two-thirds of these deaths occurred overseas. Diagram 53 shows the proportion which occurred in the United States and overseas, and also the proportion which disease deaths bore to battle deaths. Under "Other" are included deaths from accident. There were 768 lost at sea, of whom 381 are included under battle deaths, since their loss was the direct result of submarine activity. Almost exactly half the losses were from disease. If the comparison between disease and battle losses is limited to the expeditionary forces, battle losses appear more than twice as large as deaths from disease.

Diagram 53. Total Deaths.

This is the first war in which the United States has been engaged that showed a lower death rate from disease than from battle. In previous wars insanitary conditions at camps and the ravages of epidemic diseases have resulted in disease deaths far in excess of the number killed on the battle field. The facts are shown in diagram 54. In order to make a fair comparison the figures used are tile numbers of deaths each year among each 1,000 troops. Since the time of the Mexican War a steady improvement has been made in the health of troops in war operations. The death rate from disease in the Mexican War was 110 per year in each l,000 men; in the Civil War this was reduced to 65; and in the Spanish War to 26; while the rate in the expeditionary forces in this war was 19. The battle rate of 53 for the overseas forces is higher than in any previous war. It is higher than in the Civil War because all of the fighting was concentrated in one year, while in the Civil War it stretched over four years. The rates in this war for the total forces under arms both in the United States and France from the beginning oil the war to May 1, 1919, were 13 for battle and 10 for disease.

Diagram 54. Disease and battle deaths.

The Control of Disease.

Some of the outstanding causes of the remarkably low disease death rate in the war against Germany are: (1) A highly trained medical personnel, (2) compulsory vaccination of the entire Army against typhoid fever, (3) thorough camp sanitation and control of drinking water, and (4) adequate provision of hospital facilities.

There were at the beginning of the war 2,089 commissioned medical officers, including the Reserves. During the war 31,251 physicians from civil life were commissioned in the Medical Corps. This number included leaders of medical science who have not only made possible the application of the most recent advances of medicine in the prevention and cure of disease, but have themselves made new discoveries during the course of the war, resulting in great saving of life in our own and other armies.

The intestinal diseases such as dysentery, the typhoids, bubonic plague, cholera, and typhus, have ravaged and even obliterated armies in the past. During the Spanish-American War typhoid fever alone caused 86 per cent of the total number of deaths. In the War with Germany these diseases have been practically eliminated as causes of death. Diagram 55 shows the relative proportion of deaths caused by principal diseases. During the entire war up to May 1, 1919, a total of only 2,328 cases of typhoid fever have been reported and only 227 deaths from this cause. The result is due to the compulsory vaccination of every man who entered the Army and to excellent sanitary conditions. The other intestinal diseases are similarly of little effect as causes of death or have not occurred at all.

Diagram 55. Deaths by principal diseases.

It was to be expected that with careful control exercised, epidemics of these diseases would be avoided in the United States; but in the Expeditionary Forces, where troops were quartered in temporary camps, billeted with civilians, or actively engaged in prolonged battle, the reduction of these diseases is a notable achievement in sanitary control.

It is evident from the diagram that pneumonia has been the greatest cause of death. More than 40,000 died of the disease. Of these, probably 25,000 resulted from the influenza pneumonia pandemic which swept through every camp and cantonment in this country and caused thousands of deaths in the expeditionary forces. Up to September 14, 1918, only 9,840 deaths from disease had occurred in the Army, and the death rate for the period of the war up to that time was only 5 per year for each 1,000 men. During the eight weeks from September 14 to the 8th of November 316,089 cases of influenza and 53,449 of pneumonia were reported among troops in this country. The explosive character of the epidemic is shown in diagram 56. The curve in the diagram shows the weekly death rate for each 1,000 troops in this country during the year 1918. The curve starts to rise sharply during the third week in September. It reached its high point the second week in October, when 4 out of each 1,000 troops under arms in this country died. The rate subsided at the end of October, but during the succeeding months remained somewhat higher than it had been previous to the epidemic.

Diagram 56. Deaths per 1,000 soldiers each week in the United States, showing effect of influenza epidemic.

Two other diseases which offered difficult problems for the medical force were measles and spinal meningitis. Measles was prevalent during the first year of the war and was particularly dangerous as the predecessor of pneumonia. After vigorous efforts to control it, the number of cases was greatly reduced. Meningitis has caused nearly 2,000 deaths, ranking next to pneumonia as shown in diagram 55. Both of these contagious diseases were largely the result of bringing numbers of men together in the confinement of camps and cantonments where the control of contagion is difficult. In the case of measles, men from rural communities who had not been immunized by previous exposure were particularly susceptible.

Venereal Disease.

Great success has also been experienced in the control of the venereal diseases. A comprehensive program of education, together with medical prophylaxis, has produced unusual results. While these diseases have continued to be the most frequent cause of admissions to the sick report, and the greatest source of noneffectiveness in the Army, a large proportion of the cases were contracted before entering the Army. A special study of all new cases of venereal diseases reported at five large cantonments, Lee, Va.; Dix, N. J.; Upton, N. Y.; Meade, Md.; and Pike, Ark., during the year ended May 21, 1919, shows that of 48,167 cases treated, 96 per cent were contracted before entering the Army and only 1 per cent after.

The record for the forces overseas has been particularly noteworthy. There, few fresh recruits entered the Army from civil life, and hence the conditions more accurately show the effects of the Army control exercised.

Up to September, 1918, there was steady reduction of noneffectiveness from venereal diseases in the Army overseas. At the beginning of that month there was less than one venereal patient in hospitals among each 1,000 men. Diagram 57 shows the number of venereal patients in hospitals at the beginning of each month per 10,000 troops in the expeditionary forces. While the relative number of patients has increased since hostilities stopped, the record is still excellent. Regular weekly inspections, covering about 85 per cent of the total number of troops overseas, have disclosed during six months since the armistice less than one new case in each thousand men examined weekly. The actual average was one new case each week among each 2,630 men examined.

Diagram 57. Venereal cases in hospitals among each 10,000 men in the American Expeditionary Forces.


At the beginning of the war what was then considered an extravagant program of hospital construction was entered upon, with the intent that in no case should the Army lack facilities for the care of its sick. Table 11 summarizes the hospital construction in the United States.

Table 11. Army hospital construction in the United States.

The figures are exclusive of very numerous small hospitals already in Army use. In addition more than 200 hospitals were put in operation overseas. On December 1, 1918, there were available in Army hospitals 399,510 beds, or 1 bed to every 9 men in the Army. Of these, 287,290 were overseas and 112,220 were in this country.

Diagram 58 shows the number of patients at the end of each week in the American Expeditionary Forces compared with the beds available. The hospital capacity was exceeded in this country only during the influenza epidemic, when it became necessary to take over barracks for hospital purposes. The overseas record was even better. Except during two weeks in October, at the height of the: attack on the Hindenburg line, the number of patients did not exceed the normal bed capacity of the hospitals, and at that time there were approximately 60,000 unused emergency beds.

Diagram 58. Beds available and occupied in the American Expeditionary Forces.

Over 130,000 patients have been evacuated from the expeditionary forces to hospitals in this country. They have been distributed to hospitals in this country in accordance with a twofold plan permitting the specialization of hospitals for the most efficient treatment of the various kinds of cases and placing the convalescents near their homes.


1. Of every 100 American soldiers and sailors, who served in the war with Germany, two were killed or died of disease during the period of hostilities.

2. The total battle deaths of all nations in this war were greater than all the deaths in all the wars in the previous 100 years.

3. Russian battle deaths were 34 times as heavy as those of the United States, those of Germany 32 times as great, the French 28 times, and the British 18 times as large.

4. The number of American lives lost was 125,500, of which about 10,000 were in the Navy, and the rest in the Army and the marines attached to it.

5. In the American Army the casualty rate in the Infantry was higher than in any other service, and that for officers was higher than for men.

6. For every man killed in battle six were wounded.

7. Five out of every six men sent to-hospitals on account of wounds were cured and returned to duty.

8. In the expeditionary forces battle losses were twice as large as deaths from disease.

9. In this war the death rate from disease was lower, and the death rate from battle was higher than in any other previous American war.

10. Inoculation, clean camps, and safe drinking water, practically eliminated typhoid fever among our troops in this war.

11. Pneumonia killed more soldiers than were killed in battle. Meningitis was the next most serious disease.

12. Of each 100 cases of venereal disease recorded in the United States, 96 were contracted before entering the Army and only 4 afterwards.

13. During the entire war available hospital facilities in the American Expeditionary Forces have been in excess of the needs.



Chapter X.


Total War Expenditures.

For a period of 25 months, from April, 1917, through April, 1919, the war cost the United States considerably more than $1,000,000 an hour. Treasury disbursements during the period reached a total of $23,500,000,000, of which $1,650,000,000 may be charged to the normal expenses which would have occurred in time of peace. The balance may be counted as the direct money cost of the war to the end of April, 1919, a sum of $21,850,000,000. The figure is 20 times the prewar national debt. It is nearly large enough to pay the entire costs of our Government from 1791 up to the outbreak of the European war. Our expenditure in this war was sufficient to have carried on the Revolutionary War continuously for more than a thousand years at the rate of expenditure which that war actually involved.

In addition to this huge expenditure loans were advanced to the Allies at the rate of nearly half a million dollars an hour. Congress authorized for this purpose $10,000,000,000, and there was actually paid to various Governments the sum of $8,850,000,000.

Of the United States Government war costs, the Army was responsible for the expenditure of 64 per cent, or just short of two-thirds of the entire amount. Through April 30, 1919, there had been withdrawn from the Treasury on the Army account $14,244,061,000. If there is deducted from this figure what would be the normal expenditure for a peace-time Army for a similar period there remains a total of $13,930,000,000 directly chargeable to the war.

The rate of expenditure for the Army and for the entire Government increased rapidly as the war progressed. This is illustrated in diagram 59, which compares the daily rates of expenditure for the first three months of the war, the fiscal year entirely included in the war, and the first 10 months of the current fiscal year. The total height of the columns shows the daily rate of expenditure for the whole Government and the solid portion of the column the rate for the Army.

Diagram 59. Cost per day of the Government and of the Army .

During the first three months war expenditures were at the rate of $2,000,000 per day. During the next year they averaged more than $22,000,000 a day. For the final 10 months of the period the daily total reached the enormous sum of over $44,000,000. The very high daily average in the last period, most of which is in the months after the termination of hostilities, is surprising until we consider that the building of ships for the Emergency Fleet Corporation, the construction and operation of naval vessels, the food, clothing, pay, and land and ocean transportation of the Army have had to go forward at about the same rate as during the war. The great flow of munitions and supplies for the Army and Navy could not, out of regard for the industrial balance of the country, be stopped with too great abruptness. A considerable number of wartime activities and purchases had still to be paid for as well.

Army Expenditures.

Table 12 shows the amounts expended by each important Army bureau. The Quartermaster Corps, which paid the soldiers and furnished them with food, clothing, equipment, and miscellaneous supplies, spent the most. The Ordnance Department was next in order, with over $4,000,000,000 for munitions, more than half of its expenditure being for artillery ammunition.

Table 12. Expenditures by Army bureaus.

The total of our Army expenditures shown in Table 12 about equals the value of all the gold produced in the whole world from the discovery of America up to the outbreak of the European war. The single item of pay for the Army is larger than the combined salaries of all the public-school principals and teachers in the United States for the five years from 1912 to 1916.

Where the Dollar Went.

Diagram 60 shows the relative amount of the Army expenditures spent for different purposes. It does this by dividing the typical dollar into sectors, showing the number of cents of each dollar that went for each purpose.

Diagram 60. Where the Army dollar went.

Permanent Assets.

As a result of the war efforts large quantities of munitions, supplies, and equipment have been secured which will be of value for many years to come. The Army now owns some of the finest docks in the world. The 16 National Army cantonments and 3 of the National Guard camps will be retained permanently as training camps. A number of first-class aviation fields and depots and balloon schools will be a permanent asset. We have stocks of most articles of clothing sufficient to last our Army for a number of years. There is a large supply of standardized trucks.

As to rifles and machine guns and their ammunition, light and heavy artillery and ammunition, tanks and tractors, of these we have a supply more than sufficient to equip fully an army of a million men and maintain them in active combat for six months. These munitions are of the best quality and latest design---Springfield and Enfield rifles; Browning machine guns and automatic rifles; field guns and howitzers of tried French design. Articles of miscellaneous equipment are available in like quantity and quality.

Thousands of Liberty motors and service planes are immediately available for any emergency. Engineer, signal, and medical equipment is on hand to the value of millions of dollars.

All these are lasting assets which we have as a result of war expenditures. They give us a most valuable equipment for preparedness in the Military Establishment.

War Expenditures of All Nations.

Table 13 gives the figures showing the war expenditures of all nations up to May, 1919. It is as yet too soon to present figures that are entirely accurate, but these data have been carefully compiled and are believed to be substantially reliable.

Table 13. Estimated total war expenditures of principal nations to April. 30, 1919.

The total direct war costs amount to about $186,000,000,000, and of this sum the enemy countries spent about one-third and those on the allied side about two-thirds. Germany spent more than any other nation, and was closely followed by Great Britain, whose expenditures include those of her colonies. The figure for France is $12,000,000,000 less than that for Great Britain, and our own figure is below that for France. The Austrian expenditure was almost equal to that of the United States. It is noteworthy that the United States spent about one-eighth of the entire cost of the war and something less than one-fifth of the expenditures on the allied side.


1. The war cost the United States considerably more than $1,000,000 an hour for over two years.

2. The direct cost was about $22,000,000,000, or nearly enough to pay the entire cost of running the United States Government from 1791 up to the outbreak of the European war.

3. Our expenditures in this war were sufficient to have carried on the Revolutionary War continuously for more than 1,000 years at the rate of expenditure which that war actually involved.

4. In addition to this huge expenditure nearly $10,000,000,000 have been loaned by the United States to the Allies.

5. The Army expenditures have been over $14,000,000,000, or nearly two-thirds of our total war costs.

6. During the first three months our war expenditures were at the rate of $2,000,000 per day. During the next year they averaged more than $22,000,000 a day. For the final 10 months of the period, from April, 1917, to April, 1919, the daily average was over $44,000,000.

7. Although the Army expenditures are less than two-thirds of our total war costs, they are nearly equal to the value of all the gold produced in the whole world from the discovery of America up to the outbreak of the European war.

8. The pay of the Army during the war cost more than the combined salaries of all the public-school principals and teachers in the United States for the five years from 1912 to 1916.

9. The total war costs of all nations were about $186,000,000,000, of which the Allies and the United States spent two-thirds and the enemy one-third.

10. The three nations spending the greatest amounts were Germany, Great Britain, and France, in that order. After them come the United States and Austria-Hungary, with substantially equal expenditures.

11. The United States spent about one-eighth of the entire cost of the war, and something less than one-fifth of the expenditures of the allied side.





Table 14. Duration of the war.

Diagram 61. Billions of dollars spent by each nation for direct war expenses to the spring of 1919.

Diagram 62. Thousands of men killed in action and died of wounds.

Diagram 63. Per cent of Western front held by each army division during 1918. The Italian troops are included with the French and the Portuguese with the British.

Diagram 64. Ration strength and enemy forces on the Western front at the time of the armistice.

Diagram 65. Guns organized in batteries at the date of the armistice.

Diagram 66. Number of battle airplanes in each army at the date of the armistice.

Diagram 67. Number of battle airplanes per each 100,000 men in each army at the date of the armistice.

Diagram 68. Production of articles of ordinance by Great Britain, France, and the United States during the 19 months of American participation from Apr. 6, 1917 to Nov. 11, 1918.

Diagram 69. Thousands of gross tons of merchant shipping lost through acts of war.

Diagram 70. Seagoing merchant shipping of the world measured in gross tons on July 1, 1914 and Dec. 31, 1918.

Diagram 71. Estimated prewar national wealth, prewar national debts, and postwar national debts of five nations in billions of dollars.

Diagram 72. Comparative strength of French, British, and American Armies at the signing of the armistice and comparative expenditures of ammunition during 1918.


Airplanes: txt
Airplane strength: diag.66, diag.67, diag.72
-----Artillery: txt, diag.72
-----Small arms: txt, diag.68, diag.72
Argonne battle: txt
Artillery: txt, diag.72
Artillery ammunition: txt, diag.72
Artillery in batteries: diag.72
Atlantic fleet: txt

Balloons: txt
Battle deaths: txt1, txt2, diag.50, diag. 51, txt3, diag. 52, diag. 53, diag. 54, diag.62
Blankets: txt, diag.22, tbl.3
Breeches: txt, tbl.3
Bristol planes: txt
British expeditionary forces: txt
British instructors: txt
Browning machine guns: txt
Bugatti motors: txt

Camps and cantonments: txt
Cantigny: txt
Cantonments and camps: txt
Caproni planes: txt
Cargo movement: txt
Casualties: txt1, tbl.10, txt2
Channel fleet: txt, diag.16
Chateau-Thierry: txt1, txt2
Chauchat automatic rifles: txt
Civil War: txt1, txt2, txt3, txt4, txt5, txt6
Clothing: txt
Clothing consumed: txt
Coats: txt1, diag.22, tbl.3
Colt machine guns: txt
Commissioned personnel: txt
Construction projects: txt1, txt2
Conversion of cargo ships: txt
Crimean War: txt
Cross-Channel fleet: txt, diag.16

Daily cost of war: diag.59
De Havilland planes: txt
-----Battle: txt1, txt2, diag.50, diag. 51, txt3, diag. 52, diag. 53, diag. 54, diag.62
-----Disease: txt, diag. 52, diag. 53
Debarkation, ports of: map4
Depot brigades: txt
Disease: txt
-----Deaths: txt, diag. 52, diag. 53
-----Venereal: txt, diag.57
Divisions: txt
-----Composition: tbl2
-----In France: diag.43
-----National Guard: diag.8
-----Training of: txt
Draft: txt
Duration of war: tbl.14
Dutch ships: txt1, map3

Embarkation, ports of: map4
Enfield rifles: txt
Engineer Corps: txt
Expenditures: txt, diag.61
Explosives, high: txt, diag.68

Field artillery: txt
Flying officers: diag.34
Food: txt
France, military policy: txt
Freight cars: txt
French instructors: txt
Front line held: txt, diag.44, diag.72

Gas: txt
Gas masks: txt
German ships: txt
Gettysburg: txt
Gloves: diag.22
Great Northern: txt

Handley-Page planes: txt
Helmets: txt
High explosives: txt, diag.68
Hispano-Suiza motors: txt
Horses and mules: txt1, txt2
Hospitals: txt

Induction: txt
Influenza: txt,diag.56
Instructors: txt
Italian Army: txt

Japanese ships: txt, map3

Kilometers advanced: diag.47
Krag-Jörgensen rifles: txt

Le Pere planes: txt
Lewis machine guns: txt
Leviathan: txt
Liberty motors: txt
Locomotives: txt
Losses at sea: txt

Machine guns: txt, diag.68
Marines: txt
Marlin machine guns: txt
Martin planes: txt
Meuse-Argonne: txt1, txt2, txt3, txt4, tbl.8
Mexican War: txt
Missing: txt, diag.52
Motor trucks: txt, txt
Mount Vernon: txt
Mules and horses: txt1, txt2

National Army: diag.3, tbl.2, txt
National debts: diag.71
National Guard: diag.3, tbl.2, txt
-----Divisions: tbl.2,
-----Officers: txt
National wealth: diag.71
Northern Pacific: txt

Offensives, allied: txt, map10
Offensives, German: txt, map9
Officers: txt

Physical examinations: txt
Pistols: txt
Ports of embarkation and debarkation: map4
Prisoners: txt

Railroads in France: txt
Railways, narrow gauge: txt
Rainbow Division: txt
Rations: txt, diag.25
Ration strength: diag.64, diag.72
Registration: txt, diag.4
Regular Army: diag.3, tbl.2, txt
Reserve Corps: txt1, txt2
Return of troops: txt
Revolutionary War: txt
Revolvers: txt
Rifles: txt, diag.68
Rifle strength: txt
Ross rifles: txt

Seaports in France: map5
Selective service: txt
Service planes: txt
Services of Supply: txt
Shipping lost: diag.69
Shipping of the world: diag.70
Ships, source of: txt, map3
Shirts: txt1, tbl.3
Shoes: txt1, diag.22, tbl.3
Small-arms ammunition: txt
Smokeless powder: txt, diag.68
Socks: txt1, diag.22, tbl.3
Spanish War: txt
Springfield rifles: txt
Squadrons, air: txt
St. Mihiel: txt1, txt2, txt3
-----Physical examinations: txt
-----Soldiers furnished: diag.7
Storage in France: map5
-----Of Army: txt
-----Ration: diag.64, diag.72
-----Rifle: txt
Sunset Division: txt
Supply, Services of: txt
Swedish ships: diag.16, map3

Tanks: txt
Telegraph and telephone lines: txt, map6
Tonnage of fleet: txt, diag.15
Torpedoing of ships: txt
Tractors: txt
Training, air: txt
Training camps, officers from: txt
Training engines: txt
Training, length of: txt
Training planes: txt
Trans-Atlantic fleet: txt
Transportation of troops: txt
Transport fleet: txt
Trucks, motor: txt1, txt2
Turnarounds: txt

Venereal disease: txt, diag.57
Vickers machine guns: txt

Wilderness, Battle of the: txt
Wool: txt
Wounded:: txt

Table of Contents