In 1918 World War I was still raging in the area of the Belleau Wood. The Germans felt that the area could not be taken from them and the US Marine Corps was ordered to take the area. The area was surrounded by an open wheat field and thus the marines were forced to march through open areas under heavy German machine gun fire. The advance on the wood holds the second highest Marine Corps casualties in history.
Through most of June 1918, the Marines fought with the Germans for control of the wood and the road that held supply lines. This battle marked the final German offensive of World War I. The fierce fighting caused the Germans to nickname the marines "teufelhunden," the devil dogs.