The AEF Way of War: The American Army and Combat in World War I

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This book provides the most comprehensive examination of American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) combat doctrine and methods ever published. It shows how AEF combat units actually fought on the Western Front in World War I. It describes how four AEF divisions (the 1st, 2nd, 26th, and 77th) planned and conducted their battles and how they adapted their doctrine, tactics, and other operational methods during the war. General John Pershing and other AEF leaders promulgated an inadequate prewar doctrine, with only minor modification, as the official doctrine of the AEF. Many early American attacks suffered from these unrealistic ideas that retained too much faith in the infantry rifleman on the modern battlefield. However, many AEF divisions adjusted their doctrine and operational methods as they fought, preparing more comprehensive attack plans, employing flexible infantry formations, and maximizing firepower to seize limited objectives.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Mark Grotelueschen has written one of the most important works on the AEF, and indeed on the history of the modern US Army, to appear in the last twenty years."
-Dennis Showalter, Professor of History, Colorado College

"I find this to be an invaluable work..."
-Douglas V. Johnson, The Journal of Military History

"The book dutifullly raises the age-old question of how an army must go about evaluating and validating its doctrine."
-Dr. Douglas V. Johnson II, Parameters

"This is a compelling and important book. [Grotelueschen's] research is deep, his writing is lucid and presentation sound, and his main points are intriguing and relevant..."
-William Thomas Allison, Reviews in American History

"Grotelueschen's book goes beyond the well known stories of Belleau Wood and the Argonne Forest to describe how the AEF adapted to combact in France...With the final veterans of the "Great War" passing away, Grotelueschen provides a distinguished critique of their battlefield success. His book is a must for anyone interested in World War I and the development of US Army doctrine."
-Maj. Jeffrey P. Joyce, Air Power History

"Grotlueschen does an excellent job of describing the problems that soldiers in this conflict had to face." -Stephen A. Bourque, H-War

"A valuable look at the Doughboys." -A. A. Nofi, The NYMAS Review

Library Journal
Focuses on the training and combat operations of four American divisions that fought extensively on the western front.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521864343
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/31/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 398
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark E. Grotelueschen is a Lieutenant Colonel in the USAF. He holds degrees from the USAF Academy, the University of Calgary and Texas A&M University. He is the author of Doctrine under Trial: American Artillery Employment in World War I (2001). He has twice served as a Professor of History at the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs, holding the positions of Deputy for Military History, Deputy for American History, and Chair of the Africa Area Studies Group. He is currently serving on the staff of the United States Air Forces Africa Command at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Introduction; 1. Doctrine, dogma, and development in the AEF; 2. The 1st division: training for and waging trench warfare; 3. The 1st division: the search for a 'sufficiently powerful fire'; 4. The 26th 'Yankee' division: doctrine, discipline, and discrimination; 5. The 26th 'Yankee' division: doctrine, demoralization, and disintegration; 6. The 2nd division: bloody lessons in 'open warfare'; 7. The 2nd division: the rise of set-piece battle; 8. The 77th 'Liberty' division: training for the trenches and fighting on the Vesle; 9. The 77th 'Liberty' division: dogma, delegation, and discretion; 10. Conclusions; References; Index.

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