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Meuse-Argonne Offensive

SPAD XIIIs at Lisle-en-Barrois, with four bombs each hanging beneath their fuselages, in October 1918. (U.S. Air Force photo)

SPAD XIIIs at Lisle-en-Barrois, with four bombs each hanging beneath their fuselages, in October 1918. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The next offensive was the Meuse-Argonne, scheduled to begin north and west of Verdun on Sept. 26. Gen. Billy Mitchell had only 842 planes under his control because the French had withdrawn three-fourths of their planes that had been available for the St. Mihiel offensive. Mitchell used the same tactics, however -- concentrated attacks by large formations on the Germans' rear areas to keep their troops on the defensive, thereby preventing them from mounting an offensive against the American Front.

When Mitchell sent his bombers, escorted by fighters, deep into enemy territory, the German Air Force reacted furiously, which resulted in increased combat losses to both sides. At the same time, U.S. fighters strafed front-line areas and attacked German observation balloons while defending Allied balloons from German air attacks.

The Meuse-Argonne offensive was the final battle of World War I, and the Germans surrendered effective 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. At that time the U.S. had 45 squadrons on the Front in France (of which 38 had gone into combat) consisting of 767 pilots, 481 observers and 23 aerial gunners.

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Related Fact Sheets
Brig. Gen. William "Billy" Mitchell
St. Mihiel Offensive
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