LE POINT DE VUE DU GÉNÉRAL LUNDENDORFF SUR LES TROUPES AMÉRICAINES
From the section by Ludendorff contained in THE TWO BATTLES OF THE MARNE: THE STORIES OF MARSHAL JOFFRE, GENERAL VON LUDENDORFF, MARSHAL FOCH, CHROWN PRINCE WILHELM (NY: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, 1927).
"I did not delude myself at this time (July 1918) as to the imminence or the strength of the American forces then coming into action.
The French troops in many sectors of the front were being replaced by Americans, and the quality of the new forces was already manifest to me.
The German general staff estimated for me that on July 1, 1918, there were a round million American troops on French soil, of which 600,000 were already fighting. Their divisions, which we estimated to number twenty-two, were twice as strong as our own in actual number of infantry. America was evidently throwing all of her almost inexhaustible resources into the great battle.
Wherever the American soldier had made his appearance on the front, he had proved himself not very well trained, but extremely eager and even too rash, with apparently inexhaustible nervous energy. It still remained to be seen, however, whether the new divisions which had not yet been in action would be equal to the regulars (2nd & 3rd Div) that turned the tide at Chateau-Thierry. It also remained to be seen whether American leadership, lacking tactical and technical experience in handling even single divisions, could handle great armies, especially in mobile warfare." (pp 218-9)
"The tremendous superabundance of pent-up, untapped nervous energy which America's troops brought into the fray more than balanced the weakness of their allies, who were utterly exhausted.
It was assuredly the Americans who bore the heaviest brunt of the fighting in the last few months of the war. The German field army found them much more aggressive in attack than either the English or the French.
For instance, in the simultaneous attack launched at the end of September--six weeks before the war ended--by the French in Champagne and the Americans between the Argonne and the Meuse, General von Einem's Third German Army facing the French had no difficulty in holding firm the line against their frontal attacks for fully two weeks, while General von Gallwitz's Fifth German Army facing the Americans in the Argonne could not withstand the incessant force of intrepidity of the American attack.
In the October battles for the possession of the Meuse line, which we had held for four years and heavily fortified, the Americans must be credited with decisive victory. By frontal pressure against the troops opposing them, they forced us to abandon the Aisne position and retreat behind the Meuse. The French on numerous previous occasions had attacked us there in great force, suffered terrible loss themselves and gained no advantage.
Regarding the actual fighting of the Americans, their attacks were undoubtedly brave and often reckless. They lacked sufficient desterity or experience in availing athemselves of topographical cover or protection. They came right on in open field and attacked in units much too closely formed. Their lack of actual field experience accounts for some extraordinary heavy losses." (pp 228-9).
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