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).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.