Montsec American Monument
Citadel Man 1Lt. John Hodges David, Jr., Class of 1914, rests in peace at St. Mihiel American Cemetery in France. On 1 March 1918, he became the first Citadel graduate and first South Carolina officer killed in action in the Great War. The action took place not far from Montsec during a German raid into the American trenches in the Bois de Remieres.
“The Montsec Monument is one of eleven monuments erected in Europe by the United States of American to commemorate the services of American armed forces in World War I. It recalls the achievements of the more than 550,000 American troops who were involved in the Saint Mihiel offensive from September 12-16, 1918. The Saint Mihiel offensive was the first operation in World War I carried out by a complete American army under the independent control of the American Commander-in-Chief.
This hill of Montsec dominates the surrounding territory, which was known during the war as the Saint Mihiel salient. Occupied by the Germans for over four years, the salient was heavily defended, provided excellent observation behind Allied lines, and was strategically crucial to the entire area. The French had made a number of unsuccessful attacks against this veritable fortress in the preceding years.
The successful attack on this site was carried out by over 550,000 American and 110,000 French solders. The air force concentrated for the battle, 1,481 airplanes, was the largest ever brought together at that time and consisted mainly of British and French planes. The Army had about 400 French tanks (144 were manned by Americans), 3,000 pieces of artillery, and over 3,300,000 rounds of ammunition. The opposing force was composed of eight divisions and two brigades in line and five divisions in reserve.
The overpowering bombardment of hostile positions began at 1 a.m. on September 12. At 5 a.m., the main Infantry attack jumped off in front of here, hidden by a smoke screen placed around this hill. The bombardment on the west face of the salient continued until 8 a.m., when the Infantry attack there commenced. Just after 2 a.m. on September 13, patrols from the two axis of advance met just northeast of Vigneulles. More than 15,000 prisoners and 450 cannons were captured as the salient was finally closed.
This site is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission, an agency of the United States Government. Further information may be obtained from the superintendent of the Saint Mihiel American Cemetery, located near Thiaucourt, where more than 4,000 American World War I dead are buried, including many who perished on this battle.” – ABMC Plaque at Montsec American Monument