With Their Bare Hands

General Pershing, the 79th Division, and the battle for Montfaucon

With Their Bare Hands cover

With Their Bare Hands

General Pershing, the 79th Division, and the battle for Montfaucon


With Their Bare Hands traces the fate of the US 79th Division – men drafted off the streets of Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia – from boot camp in Maryland through the final years of World War I, focusing on their most famous engagement: the attack on Montfaucon, the most heavily fortified part of the German Line, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in 1918.

Using the 79th as a window into the American Army as a whole, Gene Fax examines its mistakes and triumphs, the tactics of its commander General John J. Pershing, and how the lessons it learned during the Great War helped it to fight World War II. Fax makes some startling judgments, on the role of future Army Chief-of-Staff, Colonel George C. Marshall; whether the Montfaucon battle – had it followed the plan – could have shortened the war; and if Pershing was justified in ordering his troops to attack right up to the moment of the Armistice.
Drawing upon original documents, including orders, field messages, and the letters and memoirs of the soldiers themselves, Fax tells the engrossing story of the 79th Division's bloody involvement in the final months of World War I.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Setting the Stage
Chapter 2: War Comes to Baltimore
Chapter 3:Creating an Army
Chapter 4: What Pershing Should Have Known
Chapter 5: Training – The Army at War with Itself
Chapter 6: Americans Reach the Battlefield
Chapter 7: First Army Takes the Field
Chapter 8: Concentration
Chapter 9: The Germans
Chapter 10: Over the Top and Up the Hill, September 26
Chapter 11: Left, Right, and Straight Ahead, September 26
Chapter 12: "Montfaucon Taken", September 27
Chapter 13: Bois de Beuge and Nantillois, September 28
Chapter 14: Bois 250 and Madeleine Farm, September 29–30
Chapter 15: Interlude – Troyon Sector, October 1–28
Chapter 16: Borne de Cornouiller and the Heights of the Meuse, October 29–November 10
Chapter 15: Armistice to Home, November 11, 1918–June 4, 1919

Product details

Published Feb 23 2017
Format Ebook (Epub)
Edition 1st
Extent 400
ISBN 9781472819253
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations Section of black-and-white images.
Series General Military
Short code GNM
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Gene Fax


Book Vote

Tell us what titles you would like to see published by Osprey, then vote for your favourites in our monthly book vote!

Related Titles

Sign up for Osprey membership for access to thousands of plane profiles, maps, battle scenes and more. Plus up to 30% off website purchases

Free US delivery on orders $35 or over