UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS IN THE GREAT WAR
 


 

COLORS & FLAGS    1914-18
 

In 1914 the US Marine Corps numbered fewer that 15,000 officers and men. By 1918 the  strength of the Corps stood at  over 70,000, and some 35,000 Marines had seen service in France, most of them in the 4th Marine Brigade. The 4th Brigade, consisting of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments and the 6th Marine Machine Gun Battalion, served with the US Army's 2nd Division. The Marines of the 4th Brigade gained fame in the Battle of Belleau Wood (June 1918), an epic three-week engagement that established the Corps' modern reputation. Against elements of five German divisions and at the cost of heavy casualties, the Marines assaulted, captured and held this key bit of terrain. It was at Belleau Wood that Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly, already twice decorated with the Medal of Honor, uttered twelve of the most famous words in Marine Corps history. Serving with the 6th Machine Gun Battalion, he led his men forward with the command: "Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?" American casualties in this battle totaled 9,777 (1,811 killed) most of them Marines. The after-action reports of the German units engaged in Belleau Wood paid tribute to the Marines' courage and tenacity, but the story that they nicknamed their foes "Devil Dogs" (Teufelhunde) is no more than a legend. For the Battle of Belleau Wood the 4th Marine Brigade was cited in the Order of the Day of the French Army and awarded the Croix de Guerre. To this day, Marines of the 5th and 6th Regiments wear the fourragere (lanyard) of the Croix de Guerre.

At the time of the Great War, the the distinctive colors of the Marines were blue and gold rather than the now-familiar scarlet and gold. The Corps as a whole had a National Color with U.S. MARINE CORPS in gold on the fourth red stripe, and a Corps Color with a blue field bearing the USMC insignia within a laurel wreath. The scroll under the badge bore the USMC motto" Semper Fidelis ("Always Faithful"). Regiments and independent battalions carried the same National Color and a Regimental color similar to the Corps Color. Companies bore a fringed guidon, dark blue with the initials U.S.M.C. in golden yellow. The swallowtailed brigade pennant was similar to those used by US Army brigades.

General officers of the Marine Corps were entitled to display a field and boat flag similar to those authorized for US Army generals of the same rank, with the USMC insignia over the stars. The Post Commander and Quartermaster pennants were also similar to those used by the Army, but with the USMC insignia added.

See also The United States Navy in the Great War.
 



 

NATIONAL COLOR


 

CORPS COLOR

 

UNIT GUIDON

 

BRIGADE PENNANT

 

FIELD & BOAT FLAGS & PENNANTS

 

MAJOR GENERAL

 

BRIGADIER GENERAL

 

 


 

 

POST COMMANDER
 

 

QUARTERMASTER
 



 

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