“Belleau Wood Challenge”

by Team 1, H&S Bn


You are the CO, 1st Bn, 6th Marines, 4th Marine Brigade, 2d Infantry Division, American Expeditionary Forces. Your battalion is currently located to the southeast of Lucy-de-Bocage. During the Battle of Château-Thierry on 6 June 1918, the 4th Marine Brigade seized Hill 142 and the town of Bouresches and established a foothold in the southern portion of Belleau Wood. The clearing of Belleau Wood is now essential in preventing harassing fire and in ensuring the overall security of the Paris-Metz highway—the main Allied line of communication. With outcropping boulders, dense foliage, and steep, rolling terrain, Belleau Wood offers the perfect defensive position and is currently occupied by the German Army with elements of the 461st Infantry Regiment, 237th Division in the north and the 40th Fusiliers Regiment, 28th Division in the south. Operations conducted by Marines from 6 through 9 June have shown that the Germans are armed with heavy and light machine guns and are well supported with artillery fires. German artillery units have been known to utilize chemical munitions. The enemy has regimental-sized elements to the north and east of Belleau Wood that can make a movement to reinforce during the night.

On 9 June at 1830, you receive Field Order 3 from BG James Harbord, CG, 4th Marine Brigade. Your battalion has been tasked with clearing the southern portion of Belleau Wood to the limit of advance. Upon taking the objective, you are to link up with 2d Bn, 5th Marines to the west in Bois de Champillon and 3d Bn, 5th Marines to the east, in Bouresches. You have the 1st Bn, 15th Field Artillery Regiment in general support of your maneuver that can range all objectives within Belleau Wood.


It is H-10; prepare a course of action graphic and narrative; identify and task your main effort and supporting efforts. Additionally, include a reconnaissance and fires plan.

Issues for Consideration

  • 1. What is the enemy’s composition, disposition, and strength within the southern portion of Belleau Wood?
  • 2. How can an integrated fires plan shape the battlespace?
  • 3. How can you utilize maneuver or deception to avoid attacking the enemy’s main strength?


Quickly formulate your plans and issue your orders. Provide a brief discussion of the rationale behind your actions. Submit your solution to gazette@mca-marines.org or Marine Corps Gazette, TDG 07-18, Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134. The Gazette will publish solutions in an upcoming issue.


>Members of Team 1 are found on p. 18.