Accession Number:



Not So Easy Over There: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the American Expeditionary Force (1917-1918)

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

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For the past hundred years, the narrative of the American Expeditionary Force AEF is that it was the combat equal to all sides in World War I and the reason the Allies won the war. It is true that the Allies won the war due to the disproportionate numbers over the Central Powers, but the effective combat prowess of the AEF had little to do with that success. More than any other factors, the ratio of forces over the Central Powers and the effectiveness of the blockade brought the Allies victory. However, the myth of the combat effectiveness of the AEF endures. The AEF suffered tremendous casualties adhering to outdated nineteenth century warfare disregarding emergent technologies and doctrine. GEN John J. Pershing, commander of the AEF, ordered formations to train in the same manner as the 1914-era armies. The predictable result were the same tremendous casualties that all sides received in the first Battle of the Marne. Units that adhered to the AEF doctrine of open warfare met failure on the Western Front, while organizations that willfully disobeyed orders and incorporated European firepower-centric combined arms warfare achieved success. Rapidly growing the U.S. Army in the event of war is an important and often ignored facet of national defense. The development and study of this monograph aims to provide military planners with a perspective on how to rapidly build an effective Army in a time of national emergency and the pitfalls to avoid.


Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]