With Their Bare Hands: The AEF, The 79th Division, And The Battle For Montfaucon
by Gene Fax
- World War I
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Bloody triumph at Montfaucon
After the American declaration of war on Germany in 1917, hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops were thrown into the hellish stalemate of trench warfare. Although the American Expeditionary Force was already blooded by the time of the 1918 Meuse-Argonne offensive, the recently drafted 79th Division would show its inexperience in the attack on Montfaucon, the most heavily fortified part of the German line.
Using period photographs and primary sources from both sides of the conflict, Gene Fax follows the 79th into battle, where it would overcome impossible odds to triumph over a vastly superior enemy. Using the division as a microcosm of the whole AEF, he paints a stirring portrait of an army feeling its own power for the first time.
“Based on meticulous research Gene Fax’s fascinating account of the poorly trained 79th Division in the Meuse-Argonne offensive tells us much about how inexperience, poor communications and inadequate support compelled that division’s courageous soldiers to fight ‘with their bare hands.’ Fax tells the amazing story of how the American Expeditionary Force and the 79th Division overcame many errors and false ideas and paid a high price learning how to fight effectively.”—Brigadier General (ret.) Robert A. Doughty, author of The Breaking Point: Sedan and the Fall of France, 1940
“The men of the AEF’s 79th Division were warriors for the working day: civilians in uniform. Their training was minimal, their cohesion limited, their tactics defying four years of Western Front experience. Yet the 79th’s first assignment was to take one of the best-defended positions in the Argonne Forest. It became a compound disaster. But the division’s subsequent recovery is a case study in American soldiers’ often-demonstrated high learning curve and the AEF’s contribution to victory in 1918. Gene Fax’s new history of the 79th Division is a masterful study of the long and difficult road to victory.”—Dennis Showalter, author of Instrument of War
“Ordered to capture the heavily fortified high-ground of Montfaucon on the first day of Meuse-Argonne, the doughboys of 79th Division-fresh from Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia-proved themselves as brave and tenacious soldiers. With Their Bare Hands is a fine testament to their courage under fire and a compelling work of history by Gene Fax.”—Mitchell Yockelson, author of Forty-Seven Days: How Pershing’s Warrior’s Came of Age to Defeat the German Army in World War I
About the Author
An engineering graduate of MIT, Gene Fax spent eight years conducting research and tactical studies in anti-submarine warfare for the U.S. Navy. He is the cofounder of The Cadmus Group, Inc., which specializes in development, evaluation, and policy research in environmental protection, energy efficiency, and sustainable development.
Additional Book Details
|Release Date:||February 21, 2017|