Forest of Argonne
The Forest of Argonne is a long strip of rocky mountain and wild woodland in north-eastern France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...


In 1792 Charles François Dumouriez
Charles François Dumouriez
Charles-François du Périer Dumouriez was a French general during the French Revolutionary Wars. He shared the victory at Valmy with General François Christophe Kellermann, but later deserted the Revolutionary Army and became a royalist intriguer during the reign of Napoleon.-Early life:Dumouriez...

 outmaneuvered the invading forces of the Duke of Brunswick in the forest before the Battle of Valmy
Battle of Valmy
The Battle of Valmy was the first major victory by the army of France during the French Revolution. The action took place on 20 September 1792 as Prussian troops commanded by the Duke of Brunswick attempted to march on Paris...


The forest is also the site of military action during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. Several United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 soldiers earned the Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

 there, including Colonel Nelson Miles Holderman
Nelson M. Holderman
Nelson Miles Holderman was an officer in the United States Army most notable for commanding a company of the Lost Battalion during World War I for which he received the Medal of Honor...

, Major Charles White Whittlesey
Charles White Whittlesey
Lt. Colonel Charles White Whittlesey was an American Medal of Honor recipient who is notable for leading the "Lost Battalion" in the Argonne Forest during World War I.-Early life and education:...

, and Sergeant Alvin C. York.

The World War I Montfaucon American Monument
Montfaucon American Monument
The World War I Montfaucon American Monument is a monument commemorating the American victory in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive during World War I. It is located in Montfaucon-d'Argonne in Lorraine, France...

 consists of a large granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 Doric column, surmounted by a statue symbolic of Liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

. The monument is located twenty miles northwest of Verdun. It is not far from the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial
Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial
The Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial is a World War I cemetery in France. It is located east of the village of Romagne-sous-Montfaucon in Meuse. The cemetery contains the largest number of American military dead in Europe , most of whom lost their lives during the Meuse-Argonne...


Through strenuous maneuvering and planning, the forest was selected as the primary route of mechanized forces of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 in 1939 and 1940 for the Invasion of France
Invasion of France
The Invasion of France may refer to one of the following:* Invasion of France , a failed Austro-Italian invasion attempt against southern France supported by the British navy...

. The forest's great size could conceal the armoured divisions, and because the French did not suspect the Germans to make such a risky move, they did not consider a breakthrough there. German forces primarily led by Erich von Manstein
Erich von Manstein
Erich von Manstein was a field marshal in World War II. He became one of the most prominent commanders of Germany's World War II armed forces...

 carried out the plan, and managed to slip numerous divisions past the Maginot Line
Maginot Line
The Maginot Line , named after the French Minister of War André Maginot, was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, artillery casemates, machine gun posts, and other defences, which France constructed along its borders with Germany and Italy, in light of its experience in World War I,...

to attack France. This event is frequently considered one of the greatest large-scale armoured movements in history.

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