Although Alexander ordered his division to begin a new training program on 19 September to improve small-unit tactics, events prevented any significant training. Within days of leaving the front lines, AEF GHQ ordered the 77th to join the First Army to take part in its giant Offensive scheduled to begin on 26 September. On 21 September, the division arrived in its position in the Argonne forest on the far left of the army front, becoming part of Hunter Liggett's I Corps. Two days later, as the men rested and prepared for another attack, the senior officers met to discuss the plan of attack and the division's role in it.
The Argonne, 26 September–16 October 1918
As previously discussed (see Chapter 3), the First Army plan for the 26 September attack in the Meuse-Argonne was extraordinarily optimistic. The plan called for the three divisions in the center V Corps (i.e., the 91st, 37th, and 79th) to gain the “Corps Objective” by driving a 12-kilometer-deep salient into the German lines within the first few hours (see Map 19). By the end of the second day, the V Corps was to reach the “American Army Objective,” a line some 22 kilometers from the starting position. The goals for the I Corps and III Corps were slightly more reasonable, especially on the far flanks of the attack. The original role given the 77th Division, although certain to be physically grueling due to the terrain, required relatively more modest advances.