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American Soldiers on the Western front 1917-1918

On the 1st of July 1918 the soldiers of the 9th and 23rd Infantry Regiments took part in a well planned and executed attack on the village of Vaux, to the South of Belleau Wood. Cpl William J Folsom won the Silver Star, the Croix de Guerre and a Purple Heart for the action HERE

"At 4.20P. M. the 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry, and the 2nd Battalion, 61st Infantry, had reached the bank of the river, and the engineers started work on the first bridge. At this moment a tremendous fire of machine guns and artillery burst on the exposed troops with great suddenness. The infantry sought shelter and found it, but the engineers bravely continued at their posts. Shells sank their boats as fast as they could be placed in the water and by 6.00 P. M. no boats were left. " Private John A Byron, 7th Engineers, won a Silver Star trying to build a bridge over the Meuse while under heavy enemy fire HERE

Corporal George S. McCulloch was a member of H Company, 354th Infantry Regiment, 89th Infantry Division. He took part in the fighting at St. Mihiel but was gassed in the forest of Bantheville on the 28th of October 1918 and did not participate in the Divisions advance in November. His Purple Heart and a description of the action can be found HERE

Major G.R. Seymour was a battalion commander in the 104th Field Artillery Regiment, 52nd Field Artillery Brigade of the 27th Infantry Division. The 52nd Brigade was not to serve with the 27th I.D. during the war but was instead attached to first the 33rd Infantry Division then the 79th Division fighting on both the West and East bank at Verdun. Some equipment used by Major Seymour and an account of the fighting can be found HERE

Wiliam M Cain, an African American from the 366th Infantry Regiment, 92nd "Buffalo" Division, was wounded on the last day of the war in an attack on the village of Bouxieres-sous-Froidemont. His Purple Heart and a description of the action can be found HERE

The American Victory medal (Army) had 14 clasps for actions in which the AEF participated.

Aisne (May 27 to June 5, 1918)

Aisne-Marne (July 18 to August 6, 1918)

Cambrai (May 12 to December 4, 1917)

Champagne-Marne (July 15-18, 1918)

Lys (April 9-27, 1918)

Meuse-Argonne (September 26 to Nov. 11, 1918)

Montdidier-Noyon (June 9-13, 1918)

Oise-Aisne (August 18 to November 11, 1918)

St. Mihiel (September 12-16, 1918)

Somme-Defensive (March 21 to April 6, 1918)

Somme-Offensive (August 8 to November 11, 1918)

Vittorio-Veneto (October 24 to November 4, 1918)

Ypres-Lys (August 19 to November 11, 1918)

A „Defensive Sector“ clasp was issued for any fighting not covered by the battle clasps. In some cases it is possible to tell which division the awardee of a Victory medal belonged to by studying the clasp combination. It must also be remembered that a medal in a group to a soldier from a specific division can in fact be missing a bar or two if the man was wounded and was out of action for a period.

To help understand the part played by the men of the A.E.F. During the war I have added two sections below. You can follow the links

1)The battles of detached US Divisions/Units: These took place mainly before the establishment of the 1st Army but also continued after its formation as US Divisions reinforced the French and British war efforts.

The texts are based on official US army histories and should help the collector understand the actions the battle bars were awarded for.

1) Cambrai, 20 November - 4 December 1917.

Somme Defensive, 21 March - 6 April 1918.
3) Lys, 9 - 27 April 1918.

4) Aisne, 27 May - 5 June 1918.

5) Montdidier-Noyon, 9–13 June 1918

6) Champagne-Marne, 15 - 18 July 1918.

7) Aisne-Marne, 18 July - 6 August 1918.

8) The Formation of the 1
st Army and beyond
Somme Offensive, 8 August - 11 November 1918.
10) Oise-Aisne, 18 August - 11 November 1918.

11) Ypres-Lys 19 August - 11 November 1918.

12) Vittorio Veneto, 24 October - 4 November 1918.


2) After the formation of the 1st Army Pershing pushed for independant action. The first major US action was the reduction of the pocket at St. Mihiel. The Meuse-Argonne was the campaign in which the AEF came into its own, an advance on the west bank of the Maas.


Spalte 2
Above: The medal group of Private John A. Byron, 7th Engineers, 5th US I.D.