Academic journal article Military Review

Devil Dogs: Fighting Marines of World War I

Academic journal article Military Review

Devil Dogs: Fighting Marines of World War I

Article excerpt

DEVIL DOGS: Fighting Marines of World War I, George B. Clark, Presidio Press, Novato, CA, 1999, 463 pages, $39.95.

Devil Dogs-a labor of love-is George B. Clark's tribute to the US Marines who fought on the Western Front during World War I. Clark, a former Marine and antiquarian bookseller in New Hampshire, has written and edited other books on the subject. He has mastered the material and tells a compelling story.

Clark narrates the history of the 4th Marine Brigade, which saw action at Verdun, Belleau Wood, Soissons, Marbache Sector, the Saint-Mihiel Offensive, Blanc Mont and the Meuse River Campaign. Each engagement is exhaustively described from company, battalion, regiment and brigade perspectives. He also limns other Marine activities in France as well as the brief post-war occupation of Germany. Clark finds almost all Army and Marine commanders wanting, some because they could not become good combat leaders, others because of their inexperience.

Clark also expands on tactical shortcomings of Army and Marine training and fossilized outlooks of some senior tactical leaders. He rightly attributes these to the prewar military's combat experience in the Caribbean and the Philippines and to the shortage of fully trained staff officers.

Clark concentrates his venom on "the leadership of the officers to whom the Marines were directly subjected," showing how commanders either improved or were relieved. No one escapes his assessment. …

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