To the Limit of Endurance: A Battalion of Marines in the Great War
Scholars and historians offer several theories for the crippling losses suffered by the American Expeditionary Forces on the battlefields of World War I: inexperience, poor leadership, hasty expansion of duties, and others. But until now, most of these studies have focused at the division level or higher. Now, with To the Limit of Endurance, Peter F. Owen offers a tautly worded, historically rigorous, and intensely human survey of the agonizing burden shouldered by the Second Battalion of the Sixth Regiment of U.S. Marines from its formation in Quantico, Virginia, in 1917 until the cessation of hostilities in November of the following year. In places like Belleau Wood and Soissons, these young men, led by dedicated officers, died in staggering numbers—primarily because of the outmoded tactics they had learned. Owen shows how the battalion regrouped after these campaigns, however, and embarked on a period of intense retraining. By the time of the closing weeks of the war, the adjustments they had made allowed them to mold themselves into a coldly efficient military machine. Drawing on a treasure trove of surviving first-hand accounts, Owen expertly combines these individual observations with military records and archival sources to create a mosaic that provides not only a case study of how one organization grappled with transformation but also a tightly focused, ground-level view of the lives—and deaths—of these courageous American military men. The grueling, ultimately triumphant odyssey of the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines will appeal to military historians, professional soldiers, and interested general readers.
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2nd Battalion 2nd Div 2nd Division 4th Brigade 6th Marine Regiment 6th Marines 80th Company advance American Asprey NRC assault attack battalion commander battle Belleau Wood Blanc Mont Bouresches Brannen Captain casualties Cates interview Cates to Mother Cates's Catlin Chauchat combat command post company commanders counterattack defense Denig Diary doctrine drill enemy Erskine interview field fight French front grenades Harbord Hemrick History Holcomb Hotchkiss guns hundred yards infantry June Kelly Krulewitch leadership leathernecks Lejeune Machine Gun Battalion machine guns major MCPPC Medal of Honor Messersmith Muster Roll NCOs night offensive officers Paradis memoir Personnel Records platoon position Quantico ravine recruits rifle riflemen rines road rolling barrage Saint-Mihiel Sellers memoir shell Sixth Regiment United Soissons Spaulding and Wright tactics tanks tion troops U.S. Army U.S. Marine Corps United States Marines Vandoren West Williams Williams's Worton wounded Zane