A Companion to the Meuse-Argonne, 1918 - Contributors Sought
I am seeking contributors for A Concise Companion to the Meuse-Argonne, to be published by Wiley/Blackwell in 2013. The book will consist of 28 scholarly essays, each of about 7,000 words, covering various aspects of this important battle that lasted from 26 September to 11 November 1918. Like many World War I battles, the Meuse-Argonne has been largely neglected in scholarship, so this Companion will offer contributors opportunities to present original research in numerous fields of specialization.
European or non-U.S. contributors are welcome, particularly for the essays on German and French participation in the Meuse-Argonne, and comparative aspects of the battle (see essays 1, 11-13, and 24-25 in the table of contents below). All contributions must be in English, and are due to me by June 1, 2012.
The below Table of Contents provides brief summaries of the essays for which I am seeking contributors. Please contact me if you are interested in contributing, or if you have any questions.
Edward G. Lengel
University of Virginia
Table of Contents
1. Conception and Strategic Dimensions. Studies the negotiations between General Pershing and Marshal Foch that led to the conception of the Meuse-Argonne offensive, with commentary on the amalgamation controversy. Also looks at the battle in the strategic context as viewed by its American, French, and German participants; a European scholar might provide an especially valuable perspective for this essay.
2. Recruitment, Training, and Discipline: Studies the formation and development of the American army that fought the battle, with emphasis on the preparation of the soldiers.
3. Preparations: A summary of AEF and First Army staff organization, followed by an examination of how Pershing and his staff planned the Meuse-Argonne offensive. Also looks at George C. Marshall’s efforts to deploy First Army from St. Mihiel to the Meuse-Argonne.
Fighting the Battle
4. Montfaucon: An investigation of one of the most controversial moments of the battle – the 79th Division’s failure to capture the German stronghold of Montfaucon, which held up the initial American advance.
5. Blanc Mont: A study of the 2nd Division’s assault on Blanc Mont ridge in the Champagne on October 3.
6. The Lost Battalion: the saga of the so-called “Lost Battalion” of the 77th Division in the Argonne Forest is probably the best-known but least-understood moment of the entire battle. This essay separates myth from reality in explaining what happened.
7. Clearing the Argonne. The assault of the 28th and 82nd Divisions into the Argonne Forest on October 7-8, resulting in the relief of the Lost Battalion. This essay devotes special attention to the exploits of Alvin C. York, in the larger context of this action.
8. Cracking the Kriemhilde Stellung: a close study of the combined actions of the 5th, 32nd, and 42nd Divisions in mid-October that led to the final capture of the Heights of Cunel and Romagne and the breach of the German Kriemhilde Stellung, one of the most important moments of the entire battle.
9. Breakthrough and Pursuit. This essay chronicles the American assaults west of the Meuse on November 1 that shattered the German defenses and drove the enemy toward Sedan. Examines the attempted capture of Sedan by the 1st Division just before the Armistice.
10. African-American troops in the Meuse-Argonne, with emphasis on the saga of the 368th Regiment. The collapse of the African-American 368th Regiment, 92nd Division on the left flank of the American advance generated a major dispute about the use of black troops in combat.
11. French operations in the Meuse-Argonne: an in-depth study of French operations in this battle. The French strategic vision will be covered in essay one; and liaison issues in essay twenty-three; this essay will evaluate French battlefield command and the conduct of operations. A European scholar is preferred for this essay.
12. German command: An overview of the German strategic situation, followed by an analysis of German staff, command, and operational objectives in the Meuse-Argonne. A European scholar is preferred for this essay.
13. German operations: An in-depth study of the operational conduct of the Meuse-Argonne from the German perspective, also evaluating technology, tactics, and manpower on the battlefield. A European scholar is preferred for this essay.
14. Morale: As the battle progressed, deteriorating morale became an increasing problem. This essay takes an in-depth look at American infantry morale in this battle, how it changed under the pressures of combat, and what steps were taken to uphold it.
15. Air Power: A study of Billy Mitchell and his often criticized use of American air power during this battle, with special attention to types of equipment used and the development of air-ground liaison.
16. Armor: An examination of George S. Patton and the various ways in which American tanks were deployed during this battle. Ample attention must also be given to French armored operations in this battle.
17. Artillery: An evaluation of the uses and effectiveness—or lack thereof—of American artillery in the Meuse-Argonne; also with attention to French artillery operations in this battle.
18. Chemical Warfare: A comparison of American and German uses of chemical weapons during this battle, with attention to both American deployment of chemical weapons and defenses against it. This essay will also explore issues of training and equipment in explaining why American gas casualties were so disproportionately large.
19. Infantry Tactics: This important essay examines the development of infantry tactics during the battle, with particular attention to how junior officers adapted over time and developed systems of combined arms and fire-and-maneuver.
20. Medical Treatment: A study of the treatment of battlefield casualties, with emphasis on the many stages of their treatment on the field, evacuation to the rear, and long-term care. Examines the ambulance service and military hospital system. Also comments on the impact of the influenza epidemic in the battle’s later stages.
21. Logistics: The failure of American military logistics, at least during the battle’s early stages, caused delays and severe hardship to the soldiers in the field. This essay explains why.
22. Communications: one of the most overlooked aspects of the First World War, inadequate communications technology and training played a major role in hindering offensive operations. This essay explains training, technology, and the many uses of American communications in the Meuse-Argonne.
23. Staff: An analysis of AEF and First Army staff during the Meuse-Argonne, evaluating Pershing, Liggett, the various generals and important staff officers, and appraising their conduct of this battle.
24. Liaison: A detailed study of French-American cooperation during this battle, from the staff level down to battlefield liaison and coordination; a European scholar or an American scholar with specialized knowledge of French military affairs is preferred for this essay.
25. Comparative Dimensions: Looks at the Meuse-Argonne in the overall context of Allied operations on the western front in the latter half of 1918. Without necessarily attempting to assess whether the Meuse-Argonne was or was not of decisive military importance, this essay will compare how the British, French, and American armies fought in 1918. A contribution from a European scholar would be welcome.
26. Lessons: An appraisal of the battle’s importance (or lack thereof) to Allied military operations in the autumn of 1918, and an exploration of what, if any, lessons the U.S. armed forces took from the Meuse-Argonne into the interwar period and World War II.
27. Memory: The final essay explores how Meuse-Argonne veterans coped with their return to civilian life, and how they managed their memories of this battle over the long term.
28. Commemoration: Explores the place of the Meuse-Argonne in American memory and culture, in the context of the formation of the American military cemetery at Romagne, and other forms of public commemoration.
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