Blood in the Argonne: The ''Lost Battalion'' of World War I by Alan D. Gaff

By Alan D. Gaff

During this precise background of the "Lost Battalion" of global conflict I, Alan D. Gaff tells for the 1st time the tale of the 77th department from the point of view of the warriors within the ranks. On October 2, 1918, Maj. Charles W. Whittlesey led the 77th department in a winning assault on German defenses within the Argonne woodland of northeastern France. His unit, constituted of males of a large mixture of ethnic backgrounds from big apple urban and the western states, was once now not a battalion nor was once it ever "lost," yet as soon as a newspaper editor utilized the time period "lost battalion" to the episode, it caught. Gaff attracts from new, unimpeachable sources--such as sworn testimony by means of squaddies who survived the ordeal--to right the myths and legends and to bare what relatively occurred within the Argonne woodland in the course of early October 1918.

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23 Training intensified in March when scuttlebutt claimed that the day of departure was rapidly approaching. ” Battalions began a series of night marches. Noncoms brushed up on the old drill regulations, map reading, map making, and principles of firing. ” Gas officers drilled their men until they could put on their masks in a matter of seconds. This drill was especially disgusting since there was only a limited number of masks for each company. 24 A simulated battle resulted in simulated casualties, which provided training for ambulance and hospital companies of the 302nd Sanitary Train.

17 No linguist could correctly pronounce a roster filled with names of men from Transylvania and Morrocco, Venezuela and Bulgaria, Sweden and Mexico, Lithuania and Greece, and dozens of other countries. ” When no one answered, he tried again. This time there was a muttered response from the ranks, “Do yuh mean me? That ain’t the way tuh say my name. ” “Quiet. ’” A bolder retort burst from the ranks: “Then I ain’t here. That’s all. ” Appreciative snickers greeted this insubordination, but the officer simply gritted his teeth and went on to mangle yet another name.

Long, lean uniforms were handed out to short, fat men and vice versa, so that each company looked like some sort of bizarre masquerade party. ” After taking one look at these outrageously fitting 24 BLOOD IN THE ARGONNE uniforms, practical officers instructed their men to go into the barracks and trade clothing among themselves. ”28 New shipments of draftees continued to pour into Camp Upton. The quota that arrived on September 20 was more picturesque than most, coming as it did from the Gas House District and Hell’s Kitchen.

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