France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Belleau Wood American Monument
Site of a bloody battle in World War I, Belleau Wood and the nearby Aisne-Marne Cemetery recall those challenging days of June 1918.

New England Fall Foliage Tours!




In the spring of 1918, German forces waged major offensives on the Western Front, hoping to defeat the French before the Americans arrived to join the fight. They met with success, and by June 1 they had taken Château-Thierry and moved into Belleau Wood. Château-Thierry is only 96 kilometers/60 miles from Paris (map), so it was critical that the Allies hold this position.

But the Marines soon joined the Allies, and for days the battle raged, with little progress on either side, but high numbers of casualties. More battalions of Marines joined the battle. Finally, on June 26, the Marines defeated the Germans; the commander, Major Maurice E Shearer reportedly sent a terse message, "Woods now U.S. Marine Corps entirely."

The French government, in recognition of the importance of the American role, renamed the site "Bois de la Brigade de Marine."

In 1923, Belleau Wood was named as an American battle monument. In 1955 the Marine Monument, by sculptor Felix de Weldon, was dedicated. Felix de Weldon is perhaps best known as the sculptor of the Marine Memorial in Washington, DC (the Iwo Jima Memorial), and it is fitting that he also did this memorial.

Belleau Wood Monument, France

The monument commemorates the actions of the 4th Marine Brigade of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Division and the members of the 5th and 6th Marine regiments. This simple monument, showing a Marine with a bayonet, serves as a reminder and memorial of the Marines who fought and died here.

Belleau Wood is just a few kilometers from the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial, where many of those who died at Belleau Wood are buried and honored. Like the cemetery, the Belleau Wood Marine Monument is managed and maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission.

American Battle Monuments Commission

Aisne-Marne American Cemetery

Château-Thierry Monument

World War I in France

American Troops in WWI


World War I Sites

Northern France


Paris Girls Secret Society, a novel by Tom Brosnahan


  Belleau Wood, France

Field guns in Belleau Wood...

Belleau Wood Monument, France

The Marine Monument.

FTP on Facebook    
Pinterest    Twitter