National Geographic : 1934 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by W. Robert Moore A NEW GENERATION VISITS A HISTORIC SPOT These French boys were unborn when the Americans launched their successful surprise attack on the St. Mihiel salient on September 12, 1918. They pause at the base of the flagpole in front of the majestic monument erected on Montsec to commemorate this and other heroic achievements in the region. The dominating hill, now topped by this memorial, was a key position of the German defense (see Color Plate V). in Belgium. The French and British were to break through the Hindenburg Line be tween the Oise and the Scarpe and drive for that railroad at Maubeuge. A third attack was to be made by French, British, and Belgian troops at the left end of the line for the purpose of clearing the Belgian coast. This mighty drive on all sectors moved forward victoriously to the Armistice. The Meuse-Argonne region, just west of the Meuse River, was the dramatic theater of offensive combat by the main body of American troops. While our First Army here was driving forward toward Sedan, other American divisions took important parts in the French attack toward Mezieres, in the crushing of the Hindenburg Line near St. Quentin and in freeing the Belgian ports. The Champagne district, center of the French drive, lies between Reims and the Argonne Forest. A monument to the ac tivities of our troops-the Second, Thirty sixth, Forty-second, and Ninety-third Di visions-in this area stands on Blanc Mont, near Somme-Py, an elevated position of strategic importance which the opposing forces had held since 1914 (see page 33). HILL ON WHICH THE KAISER STOOD Here, it is reported, the Kaiser and Gen eral Ludendorff had watched from an ob servatory their ill-fated attack of July 15, 1918, on which they had desperately staked their last hope for victory.