Lost Battalion

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LOST BATTALION, a misnomer applied to part of the U.S. Seventy-seventh Division that was surrounded by German troops in Charlevaux Ravine during the Meuse-Argonne offensive in World War I. Under the command of Major Charles W. Whittlesey, the force comprised six companies from the 308th Infantry, one from the 307th Infantry, and two platoons from the 306th Machine Gun Battalion. Adjoining French and American attacks launched on 2 October failed, whereas Whittlesey penetrated to his objective and was promptly encircled. For five days, from the morning of 3 October until the evening of 7 October, he maintained a heroic defense against great odds until American relief troops broke through.


Krohn, Charles A. The Lost Battalion: Controversy and Casualties in the Battle of Hugh. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1993.

Robert S.Thomas/c. w.

See alsoAmerican Expeditionary Forces ; Meuse-Argonne Offensive .

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Lost Battalion, in World War I, popular name given to those American units of the 77th Division—six companies of the 1st and 2d battalions of the 308th Infantry, one company of the 307th Infantry, and the platoons of the 306th Machine Gun Battalion—that were cut off by German forces after the launching of an American attack in the Argonne Forest in early Oct., 1918. The Lost Battalion, numbering about 600 men and under the command of Major Charles W. Whittlesey, put up a heroic five-day defense in the Binarville Ravine without food, water, or reserve ammunition. After withstanding several heavy barrages and attacks, the Lost Battalion, which defiantly refused the German demand of surrender, was rescued (Oct. 8, 1918) by American relief troops. Some 400 men of the Lost Battalion perished.

See T. M. Johnson and F. Pratt, The Lost Battalion (1938).

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Lost Battalion ★★½ 2001

True story based on the heroism of U.S. Major Charles Whittlesey (Schroder), who won the Congressional Medal of Honor during the closing days of WWI. Part of the Army's 77th Division, Whittlesey and his troops find themselves separated from their allies and surrounded by German forces in the Argonne Forest. Whittlesey led his men on a five-day defensive back to Allied lines despite limited supplies and constant battle. 100m/C VHS, DVD . Rick Schroder, Jamie Harris, Phil McKee, Jay Rodan, Adam James; D: Russell Mulcahy; W: James (Jim) Carabatsos; C: Jonathan Freeman; M: Richard (Rick) Marvin. CABLE