Between June 6 and July 1,1918, the "Yanks" recaptured for the Allies Vaux, Bouresches, and-after a particularly bitter battle-Belleau Wood. The Americans also managed to hold the critically important Allied position at Cantigny against a great German offensive during June 9-15. If ever the cliche about a "baptism by fire" was appropriate, it was now. American troops quickly came to know what the soldiers of Europe had experienced for the past four years: the results of humanity gone mad.
Between]uly 18 and August 6,85,000 American troops broke the seemingly endless stalemate of the long war by decisively defeating the German's last major offensive at the Second Battle of the Marne. Here, at last, was a battle that could be deemed a genuine turning point. The victory was followed by Allied offensives-at the Somme, Oise-Aisne, and Ypres-Lys during August.
Although Americans fought in each of the major August offensives, they acted independently-and brilliantly-against the St. Mihiel salient during September 12-16. This battle initiated a campaign involving a massive - number of U.S. troops-some 1.2 million of them-
who pounded then cut German supply lines between the Meuse River and the Argonne Forest. The campaign, which continued until the very day of armistice, November 11, 1918, was highly successful, but terribly costly. American units suffered, on average, a casualty rate of 10 percent.
It became apparent to Germany that American soldiers were not only willing and able to fight (a matter of doubt among optimistic German strategists the year before), but that their numbers were inexhaustible, as was the American capacity for military-industrial production. The German government agreed to an armistice-a cessation of hostilities- to be concluded at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.