25/6/1917 The first US troops arrive in France

US warships are now based in European ports and are taking part in anti-submarine patrols.The US army however will not be able to play its part for some time. Conscription is increasing the size of the tiny US peacetime army but the new recruits still have to be trained and equipped for modern war. It could be next year before they are ready to take on the Germans. Nevertheless, today the first contingent of American troops arrives in St. Nazaire in France, where they are greeted by cheering crowds. These troops are not even remotely ready for combat but their very presence makes the French think that perhaps the tide of war is beginning to turn in their favour.

Tensions are beginning to emerge between the Americans and their European allies on how US troops should be deployed. The British and French want American units deployed piecemeal along the Western Front to plug gaps in the line. They reckon this is the best way for the inexperienced Americans to learn how to fight a modern war. But Pershing, the US commander, is insistent that his men will have to be given an entire sector of the front to fight on. To him it would be unacceptable for US troops to be deployed under French or British commanders. This however means that it will be much longer before the Americans can go to the front in serious numbers.

image source:

Postcard (MetroPostcard Guide to the United States of America in World War One on postcards)

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