Throwback Thursday: Battle for Belleau Wood

This critical World War I battle lasted a month, pitting U.S. Marines against German forces in a fight for France itself.

posted on August 24, 2023

Belleau Wood: The name is gentle, evoking a clear brook sparkling through a sun-dappled forest. In fact, prior to World War I, it was just that ... and it is again, today, over a century later. However, for approximately a month in 1918, Belleau Wood may as well have been Hell.

Belleau Wood is a little patch of French heaven located only 35 miles from Paris, and that location made it a critical waystation on the way to the French capital. If the Germans were able to take Paris, France would fall and along with it the Allied war effort.

Only one thing stood between the Germans and Paris (and it was probably the only thing that could stand between them): The U.S. Marine Corps. The Marine riflemen of the time were expert marksmen and their skill was displayed through German casualties. The Germans were unpleasantly surprised at the skill of Marine marksmen. The battle fought by American Marines at Belleau Wood would help forge the legacy and ethos of the U.S. Marine Corps that is revered to this day. 

This #TBT, we're highlighting this excellent episode of American Rifleman TV, in which you'll learn more about the men and guns of Belleau Wood ... and why they're still relevant today. From all of us at NRA, enjoy!


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