WW-I champs on the Champs

Bastille Day’s military parade

Nice gesture, having American troops lead the parade
on the centenary year of America’s entry into WW-I

Yep, very fitting. After all, the American Revolution owed it’s ultimate success, in large part, to Louis XVI’s funding, de Grasse’s fleet, Beaumarchais’ gun-running, and Lafayette’s advocacy which helped* secure France’s backing against Britain, the most powerful empire in the world at the time.

(What? Yeah, Trump was invited; and, no, Merkel wasn’t.)
Story & pics source
* I don’t discount the impact of Franklin, Jefferson, Deane, and Lee here. Nor do I discount the motivation that France was sorely pissed at Britain because of the Seven Years’ War and the French and Indian War. Still, these wars ruined France financially, which partially let to the French Revolution that is celebrated today on Bastille Day.
[Historians, please correct this ol' engineer's memory.]


  1. DougM (flawed chap)
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 10:36 am |

    Just want to add a historical snark that’s not really appropriate for the post:
    It’s a nice, highly symbolic touch integrating the Doughboys in the Color Guard, here. The Army was segregated during WW-I. I’m sure these two soldiers are proud to be chosen for that duty, as they should be, not just because they appear to be like the tallest soldiers in their unit while the flanking riflemen look like the shortest ones.

    Also: remind me to take my two Springfield 1903s and the Enfield P-17 out to the range for some exercise next week in honor of the Doughboys.

  2. jlw
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 10:40 am |

    This year, Donald Trump was the guest of honor for this national ceremony, on the occasion of the centenary of the entry into the United States war, during the First World War. For the occasion, the “Sammies”, nickname of the American soldiers engaged in the Great War, took the lead of the troops which descended the Champs-Elysees.
    En savoir plus sur http://www.lemonde.fr/politique/article/2017/07/14/emmanuel-macron-ouvre-le-defile-du-14-juillet-avec-donald-trump-en-invite-d-honneur_5160522_823448.html#Xm7ujt9lTUf0mP8Q.99

    thanks, DougM. the French get lots of snark from this side of the pond. some deserved, some not. too many people forget that they helped us when we were weak and bled with us in Afghanistan more recently.

  3. DougM (flawed chap)
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 11:04 am |

    ^ Yeah, even friends and family can be jackasses at times,
    but allies exist only because of common interests.
    Still, debts of honor shouldn’t be dismissed lightly.

  4. dick, not quite dead white guy
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 2:26 pm |

    Nice gesture by the French.
    Pershing arrived in France with only 190 men in mid-June 1917, but we were so militarily weak at the time, he couldn’t even muster one division to bring with him.
    It took until Oct 1917 just to put together one division of about 28,000 men. It was known as the First Division, the Big Red One, or “Pershing’s Pets” by other following divisions.
    The Second Division was formed up in France by integrating small units from the Regular Army and the Marines.
    The first full divisions to arrive were both National Guard, the 26th (Yankee) and the 42nd (Rainbow) in September and October 1917.

    I found it impressive that by a year later at the Armistice, there were 2 million Americans under arms in France, with another 2 million in training in the USA.
    Talk about awaking a sleeping giant.

    The Germans command showed little respect for the Americans, but German troops in the field came to know what they had stirred up:
    A letter captured by the 42nd Division AEF, written by a Lt. Winter, German Army said:
    “…What do they say in Germany about the outlook for the fourth offensive? (spring 1918) In spite of all I still hope that our high command will not let himself be influenced in his own intentions by this affair, especially since he is using in this battle nothing but tired divisions. Summing it all up I think we have underestimated Foch and his reserves, especially the Americans.”

    -excerpt from Kurt Hesse memoir, Grenadier Regiment No. 5, 36th Infantry Division
    On the afternoon of July 15 (1918) … never have I seen so many dead, nor such frightful sights in battle. The Americans … had completely shot to pieces in a close combat two of our companies.
    They had lain in the grain, in semicircular formation, had let us approach, and then from 30 to 50 feet had shot almost all of us down. This foe had nerves, one must allow him this boast; but he also showed a bestial brutality.
    “The Americans kill everything!” That was the cry of horror of July 15th, which long took hold of our men. At home meanwhile they were sarcastic about the imperfect training of this enemy, about the American “bluff” and the like. The fact that on July 15th more than 60 per cent of our troops led to battle were left dead or wounded upon the battlefield may substantially be charged to his credit.

    - German Chancellor Georg F. von Hertling shortly before his death said:
    “At the beginning of July, 1918, I was convinced, I confess it, that before the first of September our adversaries would send us peace proposals…. We expected grave events in Paris for the end of July. That was on the 15th. On the 18th even the most optimistic among us understood that all was lost. The history of the world was played out in three days.”

    The Americans deserved their anniversary honors, and it was good of the French to remember.

  5. Posted July 14, 2017 at 5:08 pm |

    ^ This foe had nerves, one must allow him this boast; but he also showed a bestial brutality.“The Americans kill everything!”
    Apparently, and to their misfortune, the German military never studied the American Civil War. Bestial brutality and killing everything was on display then for everyone to see.

  6. Posted July 14, 2017 at 8:27 pm |

    “Lafayette, we are here!”

  7. staghounds
    Posted July 15, 2017 at 5:08 am |

    I have it in my mind that years ago I read a study that showed a high correlation between French veterans of the American ar and revolutionary disturbances. Certainly the Army, which was infected with the American virus, was no help to the King.

  8. Merle
    Posted July 15, 2017 at 11:53 am |

    they should have invited Merkel – after all, someone needs to sweep up the horse shit…..

  9. DougM (flawed chap)
    Posted July 15, 2017 at 12:02 pm |

    staghounds ^^
    Wouldn’t surprise me a bit.
    Oh, and the Brits fought the Americans & French again a few decades later.