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Editorial Note on German Raid
March 1, 1918
At dawn on March 1, the expected blow fell on the Americans’ empty forward trenches. The attackers were “badly cut up” by the First Division’s counterattack. Marshall later wrote that the men “fought beautifully and viciously, and covered themselves with glory. The result was apparently tremendously reassuring to the higher French officials.” Premier and Minister for War Georges Clemenceau himself journeyed from Paris to decorate certain of the American defenders. (Memoirs, pp. 68-70.)
The First Division’s attempt to raid German lines in retaliation met with several delays, but finally it occurred on March 11. Marshall wrote the complex “Special Operations Order” for this first American raid. The order itself is four typed pages long and quite technical. The following two are typical of the ancillary documents necessary for such an operation.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), p. 131.