DEVIL DOGS: Fighting Marines of World War I by George B. Clark

DEVIL DOGS: Fighting Marines of World War I

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An interesting but unexceptional look at the Marine Corps actions of WWI, authored by a military historian who is also the owner of a antiquarian bookstore specializing in military history. At the onset of American involvement in the war, the Marines were an orphan force (though officially under the aegis of the navy) and unwelcome by the army, which saw no need for a second ground force. Clark covers the background maneuvering that finally allowed the Marines to be shifted over to a furious General Pershing and thus to live up to their motto of ""First to Fight."" Once they were overseas and in the field, the battles waged by the Marines remain among the best remembered of the American stage of the war: Verdun, Belleau Wood, Soissons, Marbache Sector, the Meuse, and several others. Clark's at his best when describing skirmishes on the ground and quoting generously from archival telegrams, reports, and letters to create a telling picture of the field of battle. Also useful is his discussion of hurdles to be overcome in nearly any operation (but usually, and regretrtably, unlikely to find their way into the accounts of historians). Though pages here frequently become jumbled with unit numbers and acronyms, the overall narrative is readable, adding to the available information on America in WWI.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1999
Page count: 512pp
Publisher: Presidio