The period leading from the end of the War of 1812 to World War I was kinda all over the place for the Marine Corps. During the Civil War, we weren't allowed to give much of a performance and were basically assigned to man the guns on ships. In the period that followed, we were sent all over the world to engage in low scale conflicts, gaining valuable combat experience for things to come. There are, however, a few things to note -
1900 - While engaged in putting down the the Boxer Rebellion Private Dan Daly took out 200 of the enemy by himself, earning himself his first Medal of Honor.
1914 - after being ambushed by 400 Cacos, a detachment of Marines lost their machine gun at the bottom of the river they were fording. The Marines fought to get ashore, but were pinned down on the other side. When night fell, Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly went back, dove into the river, retrieved the machine gun, strapped it to his back, carried it back to his platoon, and got that mother fucker running hot. 400 Caco bodies hit the ground and Dan Daly earned his second Medal of Honor.
A1915 - in the same conflict, Major Smedley Butler earned his first Medal of Honor for engaging his Marines in hand to hand combat and annihilating 51 Cacos with their bare fists and knives. Butler would go on to receive a second Medal of Honor during World War I and attained the rank of Major General. Though he became a pacifist later in life, Butler was quoted as saying that the Marines "hunted down the Cacos like pigs."
Alright, now let's get into the good shit. From 1917 to 1918, we were engaged in the motherfucker of all wars, World War I or the Great War. This war actually started in 1914, but was basically at a stalemate for years because the Europeans basically just ran at each other and cut each other down with machine guns. There's a lot of complicated reasons why we ever got into this war, but I'll sum it up like this: Europe could not handle their shit. The Germans got balls and started fucking with everyone. When a member of the Austrian Royal Family was killed because of their bullshit, they went haywire and started declaring war on everyone. Britain got involved and German submarines started sinking our ships. Fuck that. We went in.
This war was the epitome of suck. Trenches, running headfirst into machine gun fire, mustard gas, and as if things could not get worse, most of it was fought in France in dirty, nasty, fucked up trenches.
This brings us to Belleau Wood. Unlike the Army, which wasn't used much during times of peace, Marines were fighting around the world in small scale conflicts like the Boxer Rebellion, Haiti, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. The Marines who entered the seen in World War I were some badass motherfuckers like Dan Daly and Smedley Butler. Marines arrived at the front in Spring 1918 to aid the French in fending off a German assault. The U.S. was just getting its troops to the front during this time, and the Germans wanted to attack before they were fully mobilized.
On June 1, 1918, the Germans punched through french lines to the left of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments. An element of the 6th Machine Gun Battalion force marched 10 clicks to fill in the hole. They dug shallow fighting positions and set in. After bitch slapping the French, the Germans began advancing toward the American lines. The Marines were ordered to hold their ground. As the Germans moved forward, they ran into the Marines. The Marines held their fire until the Germans were within 100 yards and then unleashed hell. They cut down wave after wave of Germans littering the field with bodies. Horrified, the Germans ran back into the woods and dug trenches and prepared for a massive counter attack.
Knowing that there was now actual fighting going on, the French commanders freaked out. They were used to hiding and hoping that the Germans would just walk by. The French commander urged the Marines to retreat. After repeated pleading from the French Commander, Captain Lloyd Williams of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines dick slapped him and said, "Retreat? Hell, we just got here!"
Over the next few days, the Marines repelled attack after attack from the Germans. On June 6, the French grew some balls and decided to attack the Germans from the left. To prevent flanking fire, the Marines attacked German positions on hill to the right. They ran into a group of German machine gun nests. Hundreds of Marines were cut down. Rather than give up, and retreat like the pussy French, the Marines fixed bayonets, regrouped, and established a defensive line. Then they charged forward. Coming upon a group of 12 German soldiers, Gunnery Sergeant Ernest Janson killed two of them by running through them with his bayonet. Upon seeing this, the remaining 10 German soldiers were like fuuuuuuck and ran away. Janson earned the first Medal of Honor given to a Marine in World War I for slaying these two bitches like pigs. The Marines took the hill and gained a foothold.
The battle was now at a fuckin deadlock. The Marines mowed down any German they saw trying to cross the lines, and the Germans did the same when they saw Marines. Pissed off, the Marines wanted to move forward. This is where Dan Daly screamed, "Come on you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?" At this the skies parted and lightening bolts flew from Daly's eyes. The Marines launched the attack on 10 June picking off Germans and bayonetting any that they missed. They advanced forward until they ran into interlocking German machine gun fire. They continued to attack the German lines six times, often resorting to hand to hand fighting with bayonets. One German who was one of only 30 left out of his unit of 150 wrote in his diary "these are some terribly reckless fellows." Fuck yeah bitch, you know it. The Germans released mustard gas. The Marines put on their masks, grabbed their bayonets, and ran into the woods to hunt those bitches down. In all, they fought off parts of five German divisions to take those woods.
From this battle, the Marines earned themselves the nickname Teuffel Hunden or Devil Dog, because of how low their balls hung during this battle. Regardless of how much certain bitches from other services like this one (please hate on his bitch ass blog) complain about the recognition the Marine Corps received from that battle, let the history books record that there were no fucks given during that battle by any Marine.
To be continued . . .