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Authors: III H. W. Crocker

The Yanks Are Coming!

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PRAISE FOR

The Yanks Are Coming!

“A rousing military history of an older, and in some ways better, America. The pen portraits of America's heroes in the First World War—whose fame in many cases extends beyond, like Patton, MacArthur, and Truman—are terrific!”

            
—William Peter Blatty, Academy Award–winning screenwriter and bestselling novelist, author of
The Exorcist,
and co-screenwriter (with Blake Edwards) of the World War I comedy-drama
Darling Lili

“Harry Crocker presents a very readable, lively, and historically rich account of America's involvement in World War One, from strategic-level power politics to the blood and grime of the trenches. The war narrative is complemented with short, incisive biographies of prominent leaders—Pershing, Mitchell, and Lejeune, among others—and the ‘Young Lions' such as George Patton, Eddie Rickenbacker, Alvin York, and ‘Wild Bill' Donovan. This is an outstanding and enjoyable volume for both seasoned military history buffs and readers who want to know more about the dramatic events that were shaping our present day a century ago.”

            
—James S. Robbins, author of
The Real Custer

“A brilliant book. Crocker is the absolute master at creating readable history—and on few subjects is his clarity more needed than on America's involvement in World War I, helping readers to understand and appreciate our commitment and sacrifice.
The Yanks Are Coming!
is a great book—highly recommended for anyone interested in American military history.”

            
—Phillip Jennings, former Marine Corps combat pilot and author of
Nam-A-Rama
and
The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to the Vietnam War

“A great story has met a great writer! Historian Harry Crocker skillfully records the important but often overlooked story of America's pivotal role in winning World War I. Peopled by a fascinating historical cast of characters,
The Yanks Are Coming!
puts the reader on the front lines with the American doughboys with a you-are-there sense of immediacy. It is a memorable story of American courage and sacrifice, and the author's insightful, fast-paced narrative enlivens it anew. First-rate!”

            
—Rod Gragg, author of
The Illustrated Gettysburg Reader
and
The Pilgrim Chronicles

“Harry Crocker has tackled one of the most perplexing major wars of modern history, untangling the confusion to deliver a narrative that is not only easy to follow, but a joy to read. Unlike so many histories of the Great War, which draw readers into the snarl of the war's complexity, Crocker's unwinds the sinews, laying them out in plain sight. It is a rare book that can be truly described as hard to put down. If a person was to read just one book about the Great War, there is no better one than this.”

            
—Bill Yenne, author of
Hap Arnold: The General Who Invented the U.S. Air Force
and a contributor to encyclopedias of both world wars

Copyright © 2014 by H. W. Crocker III

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, website, or broadcast.

First ebook edition ©2014

eISBN 978-1-62157-279-4

The Library of Congress has catalogued the hardcover edition as follows:

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Crocker, H. W.

The Yanks are coming : a military history of the United States in World War I / H. W. Crocker III.

pages cm

1. World War, 1914-1918--United States. 2. United States. Army. American Expeditionary Forces. 3. World War, 1914-1918--Biography. I. Title.

D570.C68 2014

940.4'0973--dc23

2014011621

Published in the United States by

Regnery History, an imprint of

Regnery Publishing

A Salem Communications Company

300 New Jersey Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20001

www.RegneryHistory.com

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Books are available in quantity for promotional or premium use. For information on discounts and terms, please visit our website:

www.Regnery.com
.

Distributed to the trade by

Perseus Distribution

250 West 57th Street

New York, NY 10107

For the VMI Keydets, class of '17

and

Scott E. Belliveau, class of '83

CONTENTS

PROLOGUE

“Well, York, I Hear You've Captured the Whole Damn German Army”

PART I: Armageddon Far Away

CHAPTER ONE

The Clash of Empires

CHAPTER TWO

Two and a Half Years Hard

CHAPTER THREE

Woodrow's War

PART II: The Battles

CHAPTER FOUR

The Road to Cantigny

CHAPTER FIVE

Belleau Wood: “Retreat, Hell. We Just Got Here!”

CHAPTER SIX

Château-Thierry, “the Rock of the Marne,” and Soissons

CHAPTER SEVEN

Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive

PART III: The Generals

CHAPTER EIGHT

John J. Pershing (1860–1948)

CHAPTER NINE

Peyton C. March (1864–1955)

CHAPTER TEN

Douglas MacArthur (1880–1964)

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Billy Mitchell (1879–1936)

CHAPTER TWELVE

John A. Lejeune (1867–1942)

PART IV: The Young Lions

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

George S. Patton (1885–1945)

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

George C. Marshall (1880–1959)

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Eddie Rickenbacker (1890–1973)

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Francis P. Duffy (1871–1932) and Alvin C. York (1887–1964)

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Harry S. Truman (1884–1972)

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

William J. Donovan (1883–1959)

CHAPTER NINETEEN

The Roosevelts

PART V: The Victory

CHAPTER TWENTY

In Dubious Battle

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

The Victors at Versailles

EPILOGUE

Appointment at Arlington

NOTES

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX

PROLOGUE

“WELL, YORK, I HEAR YOU'VE CAPTURED THE WHOLE DAMN GERMAN ARMY”

I
t was cold, wet, and dreary—8 October 1918—the Meuse-Argonne Campaign. A miasmic mist drifted through the early morning sky from exploded artillery shells and gas canisters; men clung to clumps of damp earth as bullets spat toward them from sporadic machine gun and rifle fire. On the far left of the American line was squad leader Sergeant Alvin York. In the course of his thirty years, York had grown from a sharpshooting, hard-drinking mountain brawler into a Christian pacifist, and then, once he was drafted, into a Christian soldier. He wasn't an educated man or a cosmopolitan one—he'd had a hard time taking his eyes off the French-speaking Vietnamese truck drivers (“Chinamen,” he called them)
who had rocketed him to the front, driving like drunken fiends—but he had superb instincts in the field.

The Germans had a well-earned reputation for being tenacious, superb infantrymen, but it was one of the virtues of the Americans that they weren't much impressed by reputations. The Germans were entrenched on forested high ground around a valley, about five hundred yards long, that the Americans were trying to cross, having taken Hill 223 at the opening of the arc the night before. If the Germans were battle weary—intelligence reports promised that the units in front of the Americans were of low caliber, their morale used up—they were still in an excellent position to hit the Americans on three sides; in fact, the advanced American platoons were already pinned down, fenced in by German mortar and machine gun fire.

York's company on the far left of the American line was moving in support of the trapped units. Sergeant Harry M. Parsons sent three squads, including York's, a total of about seventeen men, on what he feared was a suicide mission: flank the German machine guns enfilading the American platoons.

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