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The AEF did not arrive in France all at once. When the US entered the war in April, 1917, nothing had been done militarily to prepare to fight. There was only a small, peacetime Army. A draft law had to be passed, men of the ages covered by that law had to register (but first local draft boards had to be set up everywhere) and a draft lottery held to see who had to go. Others were volunteering. There were no army bases for these men to report to, no uniforms for them to wear, no weapons to train with. Everything had to be done from scratch. National Guard units were called up, but they had to be properly equipped and the ranks filled out to full strength. All this took time. The US began sending troops over by late in 1917, and that too was a problem, as ships were scarce, and the US had to depend on the British for enough shipping space to move the men to Europe. The British wanted the US to just send men, to be incorporated into British units under British officers and to fight under the British flag. They really expected Americans to go along with that idea. Much more shipping would have been made available if the US had been able to agree to that, but it was politically impossible to sell that idea to Americans. The units sent to France were mostly untrained, and were sent to remote, rural areas of France to be trained as soldiers, who might have some hope to survive the trench warfare of 1918, and to be effective in doing damage to the enemy. So it was really the summer of 1918 before Americans began to make their weight felt on the battlefields of France, more than a year after the US declared war. Almost all the Americans who became casualties fell in the last six months of the war, as the US finally became fully involved.

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Q: Why did french soldiers ask where are the Americans long after pershings American expeditionary force arrived in Europe?
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