The Marine Corps In World War I

In World War I, battle-tested, veteran Marines served a central role in the U.S. entry into the conflict. Unlike the U.S. and British armies, the Marine Corps had a deep pool of officers and NCOs with battle experience, and experienced a relatively smaller expansion. Here, the Marines fought their celebrated battle at Belleau Wood, then the largest in the history of the Corps; it created the Marines' reputation in modern history. Rallying under the battle cries of "Retreat? Hell, we just got here!" (Captain Lloyd Williams) and "Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?" (GySgt. Dan Daly), the Marines drove German forces from the area. While its previous expeditionary experiences had not earned it much acclaim in the Western world, the Marines' fierceness and toughness earned them the respect of the Germans, who rated them of storm-trooper quality.

Though Marines and American media reported that Germans had nicknamed them Teufel Hunden or "Devil Dogs", there is no evidence of this in German records. Nevertheless, the name stuck. The Marine Corps had entered the war with 511 officers and 13,214 enlisted personnel, and by November 11, 1918, had reached a strength of 2,400 officers and 70,000 men.

Between the World Wars, the Marine Corps was headed by Commandant John A. Lejeune. Under his leadership, the Marine Corps presciently studied and developed amphibious techniques that would be of great use in World War II. Many officers, including Lt. Col. Earl Hancock "Pete" Ellis, foresaw a war in the Pacific with Japan and took preparations for such a conflict. While stationed in China, then-Lt. Col. Victor H. Krulak observed Japanese amphibious techniques in 1937. Through 1941, as the prospect of war grew, the Marine Corps pushed urgently for joint amphibious exercises, and acquired amphibious equipment such as the Higgins boat which would prove of great use in the upcoming conflict.

Posted by admin on Monday 19 February 2007 - 01:22:23 | LAN_THEME_20

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