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sympathy from France and England. The principle of an independent American force, however, Pershing insisted upon, and he made clear that the amalgamation of our troops with the French and British was merely a temporary expedient.
Immediately after the stabilization of the battleline near Amiens, the Germans began their second great drive, this time against the British along the Lys, in Flanders. The initial success of the attack, which began on the 9th of April, was undeniable, and Sir Douglas Haig himself admitted the danger of the moment: "Every position must be held to the last man. There must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end. The safety of our homes and the freedom of mankind depend alike upon the conduct of each one of us at this critical moment." The value of Allied unity of command now became apparent, for heavy French reinforcements were brought up in time to help stave off the German drive on the Channel Ports.
But still the demand went up for more men and ships. "Scrap before shipping every pound that takes tonnage and is not necessary to the killing of Germans," wrote a French military authority. "Send the most infantry by the shortest route to the hottest corner. No matter what flag they fight under, so long as it is an Allied flag." On the 27th of May the Germans caught Foch by surprise and launched a violent attack on the Chemin des Dames, between Soissons and Berry-au-Bac. This formed the third phase of their great offensive. In four days they pushed before them the tired French divisions, sent into that sector to recuperate, a distance of fifty kilometers and reached the Marne. Again, as in 1914, Paris began to empty, fearful of capture. A statement sent to Wilson on the 2d of June and signed by Clemenceau, Lloyd George, and Orlando, read as follows: "There is great danger of the war being lost unless the numerical inferiority of the Allies can be remedied as rapidly as possible by the advent of American troops. . . . We are satisfied that General Foch ... is not over-estimating the needs of the case." Such was the peril of the Allies. But in the month of May 245,000 Americans had been landed, and in the following month there were to be 278,000 more.
Previous to June, 1918, the participation of American troops in military operations had been of comparative unimportance and less for tactical purposes than as a part of their training. In October, 1917, the First Division had been sent into trenches on the quiet Lorraine front and had engaged in raids and counter-raids. Three other divisions, the Second, the Forty-second, or "Rainbow," and the Twenty-sixth from New England, followed, and by March, 1918, they were all described by Pershing as "equal to any demands of battle action." On the 29th of April, the lastnamed division was engaged in something more serious than a mere raid at Seicheprey, near St. Mihiel; the number of prisoners lost indicated lack of experience, but the vigor of the American counter-attack proved definitely the will to fight. That belligerent spirit was equally displayed by various engineering units which, during the break of General Gough's army before the German assault of March, near St. Quentin, had dropped their tools, seized rifles, and, hastily organizing to cover the retreat, had secured valuable respite for various fleeing units.