The attack on the St Mihiel Salient was launched with two primary objectives: to lift the German blockade on transport links to Verdun, and to threaten the critical railway hub at Metz. Uniquely in World War I, the battle was led and conceived solely by American forces under the command of General Pershing. As it transpired by the time of the American assault, St Mihiel was the last salient still in German hands and, realizing its defence was untenable, the Germans had begun to withdraw. Caught by the Americans, 13,000 German prisoners were taken in fierce fighting, and the forward positions of Vigneulles and Thiaucourt captured. The engagement demonstrated the worth of the Americans in battle; Pershing’s tactical planning was meticulous, and tanks were deployed to devastating effect. The Salient was occupied, before diversion of the American forces to the Meuse-Argonne offensive.
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