Marion Borlin's First World War Victory Medal
World War One "Victory Medal"
Originally known simply as the "Victory Medal", the World War I Victory Medal was awarded to Marion Borlin and to any member of the U.S. military who had served in the armed forces between the following dates, in the following locations seen below.
World War One "Victory Medal"
The front of the bronze medal features a winged Victory holding a shield and sword on the front. The back of the bronze medal features "The Great War For Civilization" in all caps curved along the top of the medal. Curved along the bottom of the back of the medal are six stars, three on either side of the center column of seven staffs wrapped in a cord. The top of the staff has a round ball on top and is winged on the side. The staff is on top of a shield that says "U" on the left side of the staff and "S" on the right side of the staff. On left side of the staff it lists one country per line: France, Italy, Serbia, Japan, Montenegro, Russia and Greece. On the right side of the staff the country names read: Great Britain, Belgium, Brazil, Portugal, Rumania (spelled with a U instead of an O as it is spelled in modern times) and China
Medal Front and Back "Winged Victory"
The front of the bronze medal features a winged Victory holding a shield and sword on the front. The back of the bronze medal features "The Great War For Civilization" in all caps curved along the top of the medal.Curved along the bottom of the back of the medal are six stars, three on either side of the center column of seven staffs wrapped in a cord. The top of the staff has a round ball on top and is winged on the side. The staff is on top of a shield that says "U" on the left side of the staff and "S" on the right side of the staff. On left side of the staff it lists one country per line: France, Italy, Serbia, Japan, Montenegro, Russia and Greece. On the right side of the staff the country names read: Great Britain, Belgium, Brazil, Portugal, Rumania (spelled with a U instead of an O as it is spelled in modern times) and China.
Army Battle Clasps
The following battle clasps, inscribed with a battle's name, were worn on the medal to denote Marion Borlin's participation in major ground conflicts. He received three Battle Clasps.
Since battle and service clasps could only be worn on the full-sized World War I Victory Medal, bronze service stars were authorized for wear on the award ribbon. This was the common method of campaign and battle display when wearing the World War I Victory Medal as a ribbon on a military uniform.
World War One "Victory Medal"
Medal Front and Back and Winged Victory
Army Battle Clasps
World War One Tank Shells
Other Items in Marion World War One Trunk
Bullet Art Work
World War One Helmet
Dancing Girl Pin
Champagne-Marne, 15–18 July 1918
In the four great offensives that the Rainbow Division had from 21 March to 13 June 1918 the Germans gained considerable ground, but failed to achieve a decisive advantage at any point on the front. Furthermore, success was bought at a price in manpower and material which they could ill afford. Their more than 600,000 casualties were irreplaceable, whereas the Allied loss of some 800,000 men was soon more than compensated for by new American units arriving at the front in ever-mounting numbers. By July 1918 Allied troops outnumbered German on the Western Front. Other factors also contributed to the decline of German morale, notably the pinch of the blockade and the effectiveness of the Allied propaganda, which was distributed widely by air at the front and in German cities behind the lines. But Ludendorff refused to consider peace negotiations, and planned two more offensives for July which he hoped would bring victory. The first of the new drives was designed to capture Rheims, to make more secure the supply of the Merge salient, and to draw in Allied reserves. The second and larger offensive, destined never to be launched, would strike once again at the British in Flanders. When the two-pronged German assault on either side of Rheims began on 15 July the Allies were prepared for it. Plans for the attack had leaked out of Berlin, and Allied airplanes had detected the unusual activity behind the enemy front. Foch had time to draw up reserves, and Petain, the French commander, skillfully deployed his troops in defense-in-depth tactics. Consequently the German drive east of Rheims fell far short of its objective. The attack west of the city succeeded in pushing across the Marne near Château-Thierry, but was checked there by French and American units. Among the A.E.F. units involved in this action were the 3d, 26th and 28th Divisions, the 42nd Infantry Division, the 369th Infantry Regiment, and supporting elements (in all about 85,000 Americans). It was here that the 38th Infantry of the 3d Division gained its motto, "Rock of the Marne."
By 17 July the Champagne-Marne offensive had petered out and the initiative passed to the Allies. The German people had built up great hopes for the success of this Friedensturm (peace offensive); its failure was a tremendous psychological blow to the whole nation.
Aisne-Marne, 18 July – 6 August 1918
Several days before the Germans launched their abortive Champagne-Marne drive, the French high command had made plans for a general converging offensive against the Marne salient. Petain issued orders on 12 July for the attack to begin on the 18th, with five French armies – the Tenth, Sixth, Ninth, Fifth, and Fourth, placed around the salient from left to right – taking part. Spearheading the attack were the five divisions of the French XX Corps (Tenth Army), including the American 1st and 2d Divisions. Early on 18 July the two American divisions and a French Moroccan division, jumping off behind a heavy barrage, launched the main blow at the northwest base of the salient near Soissons. Enemy frontline troops, taken by surprise, initially gave ground, although resistance stiffened after an Allied penetration of some three miles (5 km). Before the 1st and 2d Divisions were relieved (on 19 and 22 July respectively) they had advanced 6 to 7 miles (11 km), made Soissons untenable for the enemy, and captured 6,500 prisoners at a cost of over 10,000 American casualties.Meanwhile the other French armies in the offensive also made important gains, and the German commander ordered a general retreat from the Marne salient. The French Sixth Army, on the right of the Tenth, advanced steadily from the southwest, reaching the Vesle River on 3 August. By 28 July this army included the American 3d, 4th, 28th, and 42d Divisions. The 4th and 42d Divisions were under control of the I Corps, the first American corps headquarters to participate in combat. On 4 August the American III Corps headquarters entered combat, taking control of the 28th and 32d Divisions (the latter had relieved the 3d Division in the line on 29 July). By 5 August the entire Sixth Army front was held by the two American corps. East of the Sixth Army the French Ninth and Fifth Armies also advanced into the salient. The Germans retired across the Aisne and Vesle Rivers, resolutely defending each strong point as they went.By 6 August the Aisne-Marne Offensive was over. The threat to Paris was ended by wiping out the Marne salient. The initiative now had definitely passed to the Allies, ending any possibility that Ludendorff could carry out his planned offensive in Flanders. Moreover, the success of the offensive revealed the advantages of Allied unity of command and the fighting qualities of American units. The eight A.E.F. divisions (1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, 26th, 28th, 32d, 42d) in the action had spearheaded much of the advance, demonstrating offensive capabilities that helped to inspire new confidence in the war-weary Allied armies. About 270,000 Americans took part in the battle.
On 24 July, while the Aisne-Marne drive was under way, Foch had outlined his plans for the remainder of 1918 at the only conference of Allied commanders that he called during the war. He proposed that the immediate objective of the Allied offensive should be the reduction of the three main German salients (Marne, Amiens, St. Mihiel), with the goal of improving lateral communications behind the front in preparation for a general offensive in the fall. Reduction of the St. Mihiel salient was assigned to Pershing at his own request.
The excellent showing made by American troops in the Aisne-Marne Offensive gave Pershing an opportunity to press again for the formation of an independent American army. Preliminary steps in the organization of the American First Army had been taken in early July 1918. On the 4th LTC Hugh A. Drum was selected as chief of staff and directed to begin establishment of army headquarters. After conferences on 10 and 21 July, Foch agreed on the 22d to the formal organization of the First Army, and to the formation of two American sectors – a temporary combat sector in the Château-Thierry region, where the already active I and III Corps could comprise the nucleus of the First Army, and a quiet sector farther east, extending from Nomeny (east of the Moselle) to a point north of St. Mihiel – which would become the actual theater of operations for the American Army as soon as circumstances permitted concentration of A.E.F. divisions there. Orders issued on 24 July announced formal organization of the First Army, effective on 10 August; designated Pershing as its commander; and located its headquarters at La Ferté-sous-Jouarre, west of Château-Thierry.
Stabilization of the Vesle River front in early August led Pershing to alter his plan for forming the First Army. Instead of organizing it in the Château-Thierry region and then moving it eastward for the St. Mihiel Offensive, he secured Foch's consent on 9 August to a build-up of First Army units in the vicinity of the St. Mihiel salient. Tentative plans for reduction of the salient called for the concentration of three American corps (about 14 American and 3 French divisions) on a front extending from Port-sur-Seille westward around the bulge to Watronville. Three American divisions would remain on the Vesle front.
Meanwhile Allied forces, including American units operating in other sectors of the Western Front, were making significant gains in the preliminary phases of the great final offensives. For the sake of clarity, the role of American units in the Somme Offensive (8 August – 11 November), Oise-Aisne (18 August – 11 November), and Ypres-Lys (19 August – 11 November) Campaigns will be described briefly, before considering in more detail the activities of the main body of A.E.F. troops in the St. Mihiel (12–16 September) and Meuse-Argonne (26 September – 11 November) Campaigns
Somme Offensive, 8 August – 11 November 1918
Wikipedia Article: Second Battle of the Somme (1918)
On 8 August the British began limited operations with the objective of flattening the Amiens salient. This attack marked the beginning of the great Hundred Days Offensive and the Second Battle of the Somme, which continued until hostilities ceased on 11 November. The British Fourth Army, including the American 33d and 80th Divisions, struck the northwestern edge of the salient in coordination with a thrust by the French First Army from the southwest. No artillery barrage preceded the attack to forewarn the enemy. Some 600 tanks spearheaded the British assault, which jumped off during the thick fog. The completely surprised Germans quickly gave up 16,000 prisoners as their positions were overrun. Ludendorff himself characterized 8 August as the "Black Day of the German Army." The Germans were forced to fall back to the old 1915 line, where they reorganized strong defenses-in-depth. Haig then shifted his attack farther north to the vicinity of Arras on 21 August, forcing the Germans to withdraw toward the Hindenburg Line. By the end of the month they had evacuated the whole of the Amiens salient.