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7 of the best World War I sites you can visit

By: Josh Lew on Sept. 22, 2016, 3:20 p.m.
World War I Aisne-Marne American Cemetery

Photo: American Battle Monuments Commission/Wikimedia Commons

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Belleau Wood

Belleau Wood was the site of a 1918 battle where U.S. forces were able to repel an attack by German soldiers. The battle was part of a final attempt by Germany to push the allies back before U.S. troops — who had just come across the Atlantic to join the war effort — could be fully deployed on the Western Front. The battle became an important part of the history of the U.S. Marines. Ordered to hold the line in Belleau Wood, the Marines dug shallow trenches with nothing but their bayonets and waited until German troops advanced within about 100 yards before opening fire. U.S. forces were able to repel repeated attacks over the next few days, sometimes resorting to hand to hand combat. They eventually forced the Germans to retreat. There were heavy casualties on both sides.

Today, Belleau Wood still bears scars from the fighting that took place nearly a century ago. The battleground is located above the Aisne Marne American Cemetery (pictured). In addition to remnants of trenches, shell craters and relics recovered from the area, there is a monument to the troops who fought in Belleau. It was erected by the U.S. Marine Corps. Another similar monument can be found in nearby Chateau Thierry.