The Lost Battalion: 554 American Heroes

The Herodotus History Blog

In October 1918, as World War One drew to a close, the fighting was still fierce. The bloody, brutal deadlock of the trenches was no longer a problem, but the Germans still refused to surrender.
Advancing through the Argonne region of France, Allied forces became split up. The French stalled, facing problems with logistics and German attacks. The Americans, meanwhile, were unaware of the sudden absence of their allies and kept advancing. Cutting themselves off from help, 554 American soldiers of the 307th and 308th Infantry Regiments (both part of the 77th Infantry Division), led by Major Charles Whittesley (whose superiors belittled him as “a New York lawyer”), walked straight into a large German force, and was forced to hold out on its own for six whole days, from the 2nd-8th October, without resupplies of food or ammunition. Water could only be reached by crawling through barbed wire and risking enemy fire…

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