American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front (World War I) order of battle

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A photograph of troop ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean with troops.
Troop ships of the first American convoy in 1917. The ships are the Henderson, Antilles, Momus and Lenape.

This is the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front order of battle. The American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) consisted of the United States Armed Forces (mostly the United States Army) that were sent to Europe in World War I to support the Allied cause against the Central Powers. During the United States campaigns in World War I the AEF fought in France alongside French and British allied forces in the last year of the war, against Imperial German forces. Some of the troops fought alongside Italian forces in that same year, against Austro-Hungarian forces. Late in the war American units also fought in Siberia and North Russia.[1]

President Woodrow Wilson created the AEF in May 1917, originally appointing Major General John J. Pershing, who was later promoted to general, as commander. Barely any American troops were sent to Europe in 1917, since Pershing ordered all AEF forces to be well-trained before going overseas.[2]

The troop ships used to transport the AEF were, at first, any ships that were available. Cruisers, German ships seized by the Navy, ships borrowed from the Allies, and many other ships were used to ship troops to Europe from ports in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia.[2] By June 1917, only 14,000 soldiers had made it to the front lines, but by May 1918 over two million American troops had reached Europe, with around half of them on the front lines.[3]

The AEF helped the French Army on the Western Front during the Aisne Offensive (at Château-Thierry and Belleau Wood) in June 1918, and fought its major actions in the Saint-Mihiel and Meuse–Argonne Offensives in late 1918.[4] Organized into two field armies (a third was forming as the war ended), it had a total strength of about two million men in Europe by the time of the Armistice.[5] Planned to eventually consist of nine corps,[6] a total of five AEF corps and two unassigned divisions were in the field by September 1918.[7][N 1] It was subsequently involved in the Occupation of the Rhineland.[10]

First Army[edit]

The First Army was officially organized and activated by General John J. Pershing on 4 July 1918, although it was technically formed when the United States entered the World War in 1917. It served in the Saint-Mihiel offensive, Lorraine offensive, Champagne offensive, and the Meuse–Argonne Offensive. It was finally demobilized and moved back to the United States on 30 April 1919.[11]

First Army (structure as of the Battle of Saint-Mihiel)(30 August to 16 September 1918)
General John J. Pershing (10 August 1918 – 16 October 1918)
Name Commander Notes
I Corps Formed 15–20 January 1918
IV Corps Formed on 20 June 1918
V Corps Formed on 7–12 July 1918
French II Colonial Corps
  • Lieutenant General Ernest Joseph Blondlat
unknown
Sources: Unless otherwise cited, the source is Army War College Historical Section (1988a) [1931]. The American Expeditionary Forces: General Headquarters, Armies, Army Corps, Services of Supply, Separate Forces (PDF). Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War. Volume I. CMH Pub 23-1. Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History. OCLC 183412729.

Second Army[edit]

The Second Army was activated on 9 September and was organized by Colonel Stuart Heintzelman. On 12 October 1918, General Robert Lee Bullard took command of the Second Army and Heintzelman became his chief-of-staff. The formation was committed to the Lorraine offensive on 26 October. It attacked in the Lorraine area, and also around Saint-Mihiel, before later recapturing and liberating the Duchy of Luxemburg. It was demobilized on 15 April 1919, after the war had ended.[12]

Second Army (structure as of the period from 16 October 1918 to 11 November 1918)
General Robert Lee Bullard (12 October 1918 – 15 April 1919)
Name Commander Notes
IV Corps Formed on 20 June 1918
VI Corps Formed on 1 August 1918
VII Corps Formed on 19 August 1918
French II Colonial Corps unknown
XVII Corps (France)
  • Lieutenant General Frederio Emile Amedee Hellot
Part of the peacetime French Army in 1914
Sources: Unless otherwise cited, the source is Army War College Historical Section (1988a) [1931]. The American Expeditionary Forces: General Headquarters, Armies, Army Corps, Services of Supply, Separate Forces (PDF). Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War. Volume I. CMH Pub 23-1. Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History. OCLC 183412729.

Third Army[edit]

Following the defeat of Germany, Allied forces occupied the Rhineland under the terms of the Armistice. The United States provided around 240,000 men in nine veteran divisions, nearly a third of the total occupying force, for this task. These troops were organized into the Third Army, which was established by Pershing specifically for the purpose, under the command of Major General Joseph Dickman.[10]

Third Army (structure as of the period from 17 to 22 November 1918)
General Joseph T. Dickman (15 November 1918 – 29 April 1919)
Name Commander Notes
III Corps Formed on 16 May 1918
IV Corps Formed on 20 June 1918
Sources: Unless otherwise cited, the source is Army War College Historical Section (1988a) [1931]. The American Expeditionary Forces: General Headquarters, Armies, Army Corps, Services of Supply, Separate Forces (PDF). Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War. Volume I. CMH Pub 23-1. Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History. OCLC 183412729.

I Corps[edit]

Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett took command of I Corps when it was created, almost one year after the Americans entered the war. It served through most of the battles that the American Expeditionary Forces fought on the Western Front.[13]

Assisted by the French XXXII Corps, I Corps was organized and activated on 15–20 January 1918. I Corps saw its first major action at the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, while seeing its first offensive action several days later at the Second Battle of the Marne. After serving briefly in the defensive sectors of Lorraine and Champagne, I Corps later served in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse–Argonne Offensive.[14] It was finally demobilized on 25 March 1919.[15]

I Corps (structure as of the Battle of Saint-Mihiel)(10 August to 17 September 1918)
Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett
Name Commander Units Notes
1st Infantry Division
2nd Infantry Division Division included troops of the United States Marine Corps (USMC)[17]
26th Infantry Division
32nd Infantry Division
41st Infantry Division[18]
  • was separated into multiple other units before a commander could be announced
42nd Infantry Division
Sources: Unless otherwise cited, the source is Gibbons, Floyd Phillips (2014) [1918]. And They Thought We Wouldn't Fight. Chicago: The Lakeside Press. OCLC 897378714.

II Corps[edit]

II Corps was organized in January 1918 with its headquarters being located in Montreuil, France. It moved to the Western Front in February 1918, and served in the Second Battle of the Somme and the Third Battle of Albert. It mostly served alongside the New Zealand Division and the Australian Corps.[19] After the Armistice, II Corps was reassigned to the Third Army's control, before being demobilized on 1 February 1919.[20]

II Corps (structure as of Post-Armistice activities)(19 November 1918 to 31 January 1919)
Lieutenant General Robert Lee Bullard[18]
Name Commander Units
4th Infantry Division
28th Infantry Division
30th Infantry Division
35th Infantry Division
77th Infantry Division
82nd Infantry Division
Sources: Unless otherwise cited, the source is Gibbons, Floyd Phillips (2014) [1918]. And They Thought We Wouldn't Fight. Chicago: The Lakeside Press. OCLC 897378714.

III Corps[edit]

Officers of the Baker Mission standing next to each other
Officers of the American Expeditionary Forces and the Baker Mission, a fact-finding team sent to the Western Front prior to the commitment of US troops to study British and French warfighting techniques.[22]

III Corps was first organized on 16 May 1918 in Mussy-Ser-Seine, France.[23] It was the third of four newly activated corps of the American Expeditionary Forces, which at that time numbered over 1,000,000 men across 23 divisions. The corps took command of US forces training with the French Seventh Army at the same time that IV Corps took command of US forces training with the French Eighth Army.[24]

It served during the Third Battle of the Aisne, the Aisne-Oise Offensive, the Aisne-Marne offensive,[25] the Meuse–Argonne Offensive, and undertook a short time in the defensive sectors of Lorraine and Champagne.[26] It then marched into Germany from 17 November 1918 to 2 July 1919. It was officially demobilized on 1 July 1919.[25]

III Corps (structure as of Vesle operations)(7 to 17 August 1918)
Lieutenant General William M. Wright
Name Commander Units
3rd Infantry Division
5th Infantry Division
  • Major General John E. McMahon
27th Infantry Division
33rd Infantry Division
78th Infantry Division
  • Major General James A. McRae
80th Infantry Division
Sources: Unless otherwise cited, the source is Gibbons, Floyd Phillips (2014) [1918]. And They Thought We Wouldn't Fight. Chicago: The Lakeside Press. OCLC 897378714.

IV Corps[edit]

IV Corps was first organized on 10 June 1918, during World War I as part of American Expeditionary Forces at Western Front, as Headquarters IV Army Corps, with its headquarters located in Neufchateau, France, which also was the headquarters of I Corps. Later, on 21 June, IV Corps was ordered to replace I Corps in the French VIII Corps area.[28]

It participated in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and in the defensive sector in Lorraine from 20 August 1918 to 11 September 1918. It moved into Germany from 17 November to 17 December 1918, before being demobilized in the Weimar Republic on 11 May 1919.[29]

IV Corps (structure as of the period from 17 September 1918 to 11 November 1918)
Lieutenant General George Windle Read
Name Commander Units
29th Infantry Division
  • Major General C.G. Morton[27]
37th Infantry Division
83rd Infantry Division
  • Major General E. F. Glenn
89th Infantry Division
  • Major General Frank L. Winn
90th Infantry Division
92nd Infantry Division
Sources: Unless otherwise cited, the source is Gibbons, Floyd Phillips (2014) [1918]. And They Thought We Wouldn't Fight. Chicago: The Lakeside Press. OCLC 897378714.

V Corps[edit]

A picture of the American Expeditionary Forces marching across a small bridge holding a flag in France
The American Expeditionary Forces marching in France.

V Corps was organized over the period 7–12 July 1918 in France as a Regular Army formation within the American Expeditionary Forces. By the end of World War I, the corps had fought in three named campaigns: the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, the Meuse–Argonne Offensive, and the Lorraine Campaign.[18]

Activated and organized by Lieutenant General William M. Wright under orders by Pershing, its headquarters was formed in Remiremont, France. It was assigned to the First Army when it was created on 15 August 1918. It held command of the French 15th Colonial Infantry Division for a short period of time in 1918.[30] It was later demobilized on 2 May 1919 in Camp Funston, Kansas.[31]

V Corps (structure as of the Battle of Saint-Mihiel)(29 August to 16 September 1918)
Lieutenant General William M. Wright
Name Commander Units
6th Infantry Division
36th Infantry Division
76th Infantry Division
  • Major General Harry F. Hodges
79th Infantry Division
  • Major General Joseph E. Kuhn
85th Infantry Division
  • Major General C. W. Kennedy
91st Infantry Division
  • Major General Frederick S. Foltz
Sources: Unless otherwise cited, the source is Gibbons, Floyd Phillips (2014) [1918]. And They Thought We Wouldn't Fight. Chicago: The Lakeside Press. OCLC 897378714.

VI Corps[edit]

VI Corps was activated and organized by Omar Bundy on 26 July 1918. Charles C. Ballou, Charles T. Menoher, and George Bell Jr. all assumed command at some time before the armistice. VI Corps served with the First United States Army in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse–Argonne Offensive. VI Corps was then stationed in Belgium and Luxemburg from 19 December 1918 to 11 April 1919, when it was finally demobilized.[32]

VI Corps (structure as of the Lorraine Offensive)(23 October to 13 November 1918)
Lieutenant General Charles T. Menoher
Name Commander Units
7th Infantry Division
88th Infantry Division
92nd Infantry Division

VII Corps[edit]

On 16 August 1918, Major General William M. Wright was designated as VII Corps' temporary commander. Three days later, the formation was designated an administrative organization and tasked with commanding training efforts in the French XXXIII Corps and the French XL Corps areas, relieving V Corps of the command. It saw no combat action in World War I. It marched into Germany from 22 November to 12 December 1918. It was finally demobilized on 11 May 1919, with its remnants becoming part of the Third Army.[35]

VII Corps (structure as of the period from 19 to 27 August 1918)
Major General William M. Wright
Name Commander Units
5th Infantry Division
  • Major General John E. McMahon[36]
29th Infantry Division
  • Major General William F. Jones[38]
35th Infantry Division
  • Major General Peter E. Traub[39]
  • 69th Infantry Brigade[40]
    • 137th Infantry Regiment
    • 138th Infantry Regiment
    • 129th Machine Gun Battalion
  • 70th Infantry Brigade
    • 139th Infantry Regiment
    • 140th Infantry Regiment
    • 130th Machine Gun Battalion
  • 60th Field Artillery Brigade
92nd Infantry Division
  • 183rd Infantry Brigade[34]
  • 184th Infantry Brigade
    • 367th Infantry Regiment
    • 368th Infantry Regiment
    • 351st Machine Gun Battalion
  • 167th Field Artillery Brigade
    • 350th Field Artillery Regiment
    • 351st Field Artillery Regiment
    • 352nd Field Artillery Regiment
    • 317th Trench Mortar Battery
Sources: Unless otherwise cited, the source is Army War College Historical Section (1988a) [1931]. The American Expeditionary Forces: General Headquarters, Armies, Army Corps, Services of Supply, Separate Forces (PDF). Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War. Volume I. CMH Pub 23-1. Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History. OCLC 183412729.

VIII Corps[edit]

Activated and organized by Major General Henry T. Allen on 18 November 1918, VIII Corps was ordered to train and supervise troops of the First Army that were withdrawing from the Meuse-Argonne theater to American training areas in France. It saw no combat during World War I, as it was formed after the Armistice. It was demobilized on 20 April 1919.[42]

VIII Corps (structure as of the period from 26 to 30 November 1918)
Major General Henry T. Allen
Name Commander Units
6th Infantry Division
77th Infantry Division
  • 153rd Infantry Brigade[45]
    • 305th Infantry Regiment
    • 306th Infantry Regiment
    • 305th Machine Gun Battalion
  • 154th Infantry Brigade
    • 307th Infantry Regiment
    • 308th Infantry Regiment
    • 306th Machine Gun Battalion
  • 152nd Field Artillery Brigade
    • 304th Field Artillery Regiment
    • 305th Field Artillery Regiment
    • 306th Field Artillery Regiment
    • 302nd Trench Mortar Battery
81st Infantry Division
  • 161st Infantry Brigade[47]
    • 321st Infantry Regiment
    • 322nd Infantry Regiment
    • 317th Machine Gun Battalion
  • 162nd Infantry Brigade
    • 323rd Infantry Regiment
    • 324th Infantry Regiment
    • 318th Machine Gun Regiment
  • 156th Field Artillery Brigade
    • 316th Field Artillery Regiment
    • 317th Field Artillery Regiment
    • 318th Field Artillery Regiment
    • 306th Trench Mortar Battery
Sources: Unless otherwise cited, the source is Army War College Historical Section (1988a) [1931]. The American Expeditionary Forces: General Headquarters, Armies, Army Corps, Services of Supply, Separate Forces (PDF). Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War. Volume I. CMH Pub 23-1. Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History. OCLC 183412729.

IX Corps[edit]

IX Corps was organized and activated by Brigadier General William K. Naylor on 16 November 1918, although Major General Adelbert Cronkhite assumed command on 18 November, after which Naylor became his chief-of-staff. It constituted the left flank of the Second Army on the front between Jonville and Fresnes-en-Woevre. It supervised the activities of formations (such as police duties), due to the armistice, when it was in the area. It was finally demobilized on 5 May 1919.[48]

IX Corps (structure as of the period from 26 November to 5 December)
Major General Adelbert Cronkhite
Name Commander Units
33rd Infantry Division
  • 65th Infantry Brigade[50]
    • 129th Infantry Regiment
    • 130th Infantry Regiment
    • 123rd Machine Gun Battalion
  • 66th Infantry Brigade
    • 131st Infantry Regiment
    • 132nd Infantry Regiment
    • 124th Machine Gun Battalion
  • 58th Field Artillery Brigade
    • 122nd Field Artillery Regiment
    • 123rd Field Artillery Regiment
    • 124th Field Artillery Regiment
    • 108th Trench Mortar Battery
35th Infantry Division
  • Major General Thomas B. Dugan[39]
  • Major General Peter E. Traub
Sources: Unless otherwise cited, the source is Army War College Historical Section (1988a) [1931]. The American Expeditionary Forces: General Headquarters, Armies, Army Corps, Services of Supply, Separate Forces (PDF). Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War. Volume I. CMH Pub 23-1. Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History. OCLC 183412729.

Unassigned divisions[edit]

These divisions were unassigned to any corps in the AEF during World War I at the time of the Armistice.[18][51]

Unassigned divisions
Name Commander Units
81st Infantry Division
93rd Infantry Division
  • Major General Roy Hoffman[52]
39th Infantry Division
  • Major General Henry C. Hodges, Jr. [53]
Sources: Unless otherwise cited, the source is Gibbons, Floyd Phillips (2014) [1918]. And They Thought We Wouldn't Fight. Chicago: The Lakeside Press. OCLC 897378714.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. divisions consisted of two large infantry brigades and an artillery brigade.[8] Each division also had a Headquarters, Signals, and Engineer battalion.[9] The total strength of each AEF division was approximately 28,000 men, more than twice that of other Allied or German formations.[8]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Votaw (2013), p. 62.
  2. ^ a b Coffman (1998).
  3. ^ Pershing (1931).
  4. ^ Votaw (2013), p. 6.
  5. ^ Grotelueschen (2007), pp. 13 & 343.
  6. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988a), p. v.
  7. ^ Gibbons (2014), p. 388.
  8. ^ a b Grotelueschen (2007), p. 27.
  9. ^ Gibbons (2014), p. 391.
  10. ^ a b Pawley (2008) pp. 32–33
  11. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988a), pp. 81–149.
  12. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988a), pp. 150–169
  13. ^ Lineage and Honors Information: I Corps (2009).
  14. ^ I Corps History: World War I (2009).
  15. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988a), p. 219.
  16. ^ a b c Henry (2012), p. 11.
  17. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 25.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Votaw (2013), pp. 30–32.
  19. ^ Gibbons (2014), p. 91.
  20. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988a), p. 235.
  21. ^ Army War College Historical Publication (1988b), p. 57.
  22. ^ Grotelueschen (2007), p. 36.
  23. ^ Wilson (1999), p. 53.
  24. ^ Stewart (2005), p. 35.
  25. ^ a b Army War College Historical Section (1988a), p. 243.
  26. ^ III Corps history (2007).
  27. ^ a b c d e Order of Battle (Unit Structure) – American Forces – World War I (1998).
  28. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988a), p. 271.
  29. ^ Wilson (1999), p. 55.
  30. ^ Kirkpatrick (2001), p. 2.
  31. ^ Lineage and Honors Information (2013). United States Center of Military History
  32. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988a), pp. 219–221.
  33. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 393.
  34. ^ a b Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 429.
  35. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988a), pp. 329–336
  36. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 75.
  37. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 76.
  38. ^ a b Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 153.
  39. ^ a b Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 210.
  40. ^ a b Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 211.
  41. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 428.
  42. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988a), pp. 337–340
  43. ^ a b Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 90.
  44. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 296.
  45. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 297.
  46. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 338.
  47. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 339.
  48. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988a), pp. 341–345
  49. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 192.
  50. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 193.
  51. ^ a b c Rinaldi (2004), pp. 18–20.
  52. ^ Army War College Historical Section (1988b), p. 436.
  53. ^ The Digital Bookshelf, American Expeditionary Forces, 39th "Delta" Division, www.thedigitalbookshelf.us/division_39.htm, See Also, Wyllie, Col. Robert E. "The Romance of Military Insignia." The National Geographic Magazine, Vol. XXXVI, No. 6. December 1919.

Bibliography[edit]

Web sources[edit]