THE MEUSE-ARGONNE OFFENSIVE
We have already seen that the 360th Infantry had a part in the start of the Meuse-Argonne
drive, when Companies E and F participated in the raid of September 26, however, the entire
regiment did not become engaged in the offensive until the night of October 30-31, when the
180th Brigade relieved the 179th and took up the offensive, which smashed through the Freya
This advancement was accomplished by the 360th Regiment, and ranks not only as its
greatest performance in the war, but as one of the most telling assaults delivered by any
organization of troops on the entire Western front.
A brief résumé of the events leading up to the regiments operations on and after
November 1, as well as a general picture of the battle front at that time, will make easier to
comprehend the splendid achievements of Colonel Prices command.
In the distribution of battle sectors the Americans asked for and received the most
difficult one. The American army was fresh but its men had been tried and found not wanting.
Its desire for a fight had only been sharpened by the stampede at St. Mihiel. Accordingly
General Pershing was allotted that network of German positions along the Metz-Lille railway
from the Meuse river to the Western edge of the Argonne Forest as his particular theater of
operations. It was this position, or rather series of positions, that the enemy would be sure to
defend most loyally and energetically, for a collapse here before the harried retreat in front of the
British on the upper end of the line could be completed would be disastrous for Ludendorf.
The battle was planned to be fought in three phases, and it was.
The first phase came to a close when it was no longer possible to make long daily
advances, that is, within three or four days after September 26.
The second phase commenced almost immediately thereafter and it consisted of the
efforts of individual corps and divisions to straighten their lines. It was this phase which exacted
most heavily from the men engaged, for, more often than not, the fighting was of a desperate
hand-to-hand character. This phase can be said to have started on October 4 and ended on
October 31, although the early days of November saw a repetition of this bushwhacking fighting.
It was in the third phase the one to a decision wherein the 360th Infantry played a
role. This cycle of the battle began with a general attack on the morning of November 1 and
ended at 11 oclock on the morning of November 11, when hostilities ceased everywhere under
the terms of the armistice.
Now we may come back to the specific moments of the regiment in whose operations we
are chiefly concerned.
When the regiment was relieved on the St. Mihiel front it marched by easy stages to the
area around Toul and rested for several days. By October 17 all elements of the division were in