The Devil Dogs at Belleau Wood: U.S. Marines in World War I

The Devil Dogs at Belleau Wood: U.S. Marines in World War I

by Dick Camp, Richard D. Camp
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The Devil Dogs at Belleau Wood: U.S. Marines in World War I by Dick Camp, Richard D. Camp

Facing massed German machine guns, the Marines made sweep after bloody sweep through Belleau Wood. Repeatedly accosted by the retreating French and urged to turn back, Captain Lloyd Williams of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, uttered the now-famous retort, "Retreat, hell. We just got here." And indeed, by the end of that terrible June of 1918, the Marines had broken the back of the Germans powerful spring offensive. Their ferocity had earned them the nickname Teufelshunde—Devil Dogs—from their enemies; it also won such admiration from their allies that the French government changed the name of Belleau Wood to Bois de la Brigade de Marine.

The Devil Dogs at Belleau Wood recreates the drama of the battle for Belleau Wood as it was experienced by those who were there. Drawing on numerous firsthand accounts of the month-long engagement, the book captures the spirit of the Leathernecks in desperate battle. It offers a harrowing look at a critical campaign in which, as one soldier says, "men were being mowed down like wheat." And, amidst the carnage and cruelty, it tells the very human story of camaraderie and courage that carried the day.

Rich with the personal insights and observations that bring history to life, the book is illustrated with a great number of photographs, many of which are rare and never before published.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780760331897
Publisher: Quarto Publishing Group USA, Inc.
Publication date: 04/15/2008
Edition description: First
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 336,811
Product dimensions: 8.25(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.37(d)

About the Author

Dick Camp is a retired Marine Corps colonel and the author of Lima-6, his memoir as a Marine infantry company commander at Khe Sanh. He has written several combat histories of the U.S. Marines, including The Devil Dogs at Belleau Wood, Battleship Arizona's Marines at War, Iwo Jima Recon, and Last Man Standing: The 1st Marine Regiment on Peleliu. He is also the author of Leatherneck Legends: Conversations with the Marine Corps' Old Breed and has published over sixty articles in various military-oriented magazines, including Vietnam, World War II, Marine Corps Gazette, and Leatherneck. Camp is currently the vice president for museum operations at the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, overseeing the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: WAR!

Chapter 2: Transportation Has Been Arranged

Chapter 3: A Time in the Trenches

Chapter 4: The Blooding

Chapter 5: Over the Top to Hill 142

Chapter 6: Nothing but Marines in the Town of Bouresches

Chapter 7: Machine Guns in the Wheat

Chapter 8: Belleau Wood

Chapter 9: Woods of the Marine Brigade


What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Leatherneck Magazine, May 2008
"Not one World War I Marine veteran remains; they have all passed into history. But Dick Camp does his part to honor those men and their fearless fighting spirit in The Devil Dogs at Belleau Wood, an account of the Marine Corps' first test of fierce combat in a protracted, foreign war. Camp's approach to the Belleau Wood chapter in history is sound in research and electrifying in its portrayal. His background as a retired Marine colonel and as the author of other well-acclaimed books on the Marine Corps' history provide him with the perspective to retell, and in some cases, disclose, a great deal about one of the more storied campaigns in Marine Corps lore. Camp does an excellent job of depicting the sheer brutality of combat. His descriptive language allows the reader to fully comprehend the macabre face of death. While other WW I classics like Erich Maria Remarque's fictional novel, "All Quiet on the Western Front," have depicted combat at its worst, Camp's work does so, but in a tightly packaged and spirited portrayal that benefits from numerous photographs, maps and quotes from the men who were there. Dick Camp's work on Belleau Wood serves as a blueprint for the Marine spirit, still active today in fields of combat in different parts of the world."

The Watsonville Register-Pajaronian, June 8, 2008
"Another new, noteworthy book from Zenith Press that will fascinate the military historian is Dick Camp's Devil Dogs at Belleau Wood...More than one hundred photos accompany the text that offers an account of the month-long engagement that captures the spirit of the Leathernecks in desperate battle."


Some years ago I was on leave at my parents' home in upper New York. With little to do except get fat from my mother's cooking, I decided to try and locate a former Marine in Rochester, an hour's drive away. It was a spur of the moment thing. I didn't have a phone number, only an address-almost a fool's errand. Surprisingly, I found the modest house in an older section of the city. I took the chance that he was home and rang the doorbell. After some moments the door opened and an older gentleman peered out, a look of genuine surprise on his face as he scrutinized my Marine officer's green uniform. I explained the purpose of my visit-and he was kind enough to invite me in.

We went into his living room, and for the next two hours, Mr. Robert Benedict, former private, 82nd Company, 6th Marine Regiment, regaled me with stories of his service in France during the "Great War." Despite being well into his seventh decade of life, his account was lucid and rich in detail-delivered in a matter-of-fact manner, without false bravado. He described coming of age during the realistic combat training in the harsh winter and spring of 1918. As warm weather lightened spirits, rumors swept the ranks that the Germans were on the move. Bob became more animated as he related the feeling of excitement during the forced march to the front. I believe in his mind's eye he saw again those long lines of green uniformed youngsters striding confidently forward. He quite proudly told me how his company commander picked him to be a runner, a mark of honor.

Bob related how his company reached a wood and formed an assault formation. On signal, they advanced by platoon, line abreast, beyond the tree lineinto an open field of waist-high wheat. Just then his voice caught, and he struggled to continue. I broke in, hoping to give him time to recover. "Where were you?" I asked. After a long moment, he replied, "Why, it was Belleau Wood." Bob excused himself and said, "I can't go on, it's too painful, too many upsetting memories."

A chill went up my spine, as the realization hit me that the old man sitting across from me was the living embodiment of the Corps' mystique-Belleau Wood was synonymous with Marine valor and sacrifice-that is instilled in every new Marine.

Years later, I invited Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd, the retired twentieth commandant of the Marine Corps, to attend a meeting of my junior officers at the San Diego Officer's Club. The "old man" totally captivated them, as he talked about his forty-two years of active service. An officer asked a final question. "General, what was the worst thing you faced during your four decades of service?" Shepherd did not miss a beat, "Machine guns at Belleau Wood."

I remembered those incidents as if they were yesterday. Those two old men were my link with the old Corps-and in a fashion, they forged a link between their generation and mine. The history of the Corps, in many respects, is an oral account of the past, as told by one Marine to another. In a sense, The Devil Dogs at Belleau Wood is a "written" oral history.

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Devil Dogs at Belleau Wood 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a complete account of what happened to our Marines in their first encounter in WWI. This is info that doesn't seem to have been taught in school that I recall. A real eye opener as to how so many died from this war.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ik. I just need time. Walks to Carter result 5
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sets 56 miltias of undead. Rides his drakon.