443rd AAA Bn in World War II

RHINELAND CAMPAIGN

THE "LOST BATTALION"

Click on the map to view a larger imageThe 141st Regiment’s 1st Battalion attacked eastward from Biffontaine through the hills and woods of the Foret Dominiale du Champ, following a ridge towards La Houssiere. On 24 October a heavy German counterattack from both flanks cut through the Battalion, isolating Companies A, B and part of C plus 443rd Platoon D. The balance of the 141st Regiment attacked desperately to rescue the trapped units but was blocked by strong enemy forces on favorable terrain. German artillery blasted the trapped Americans with telling effect. On 26 October the 443rd alerted its batteries that at 8 am the following day, friendly planes would drop supplies to the beleaguered men. Thirty fighter-bombers carried out the drop with much falling into Germen hands. The 442nd Combat Team was then committed to the attack and for three days ground its way toward the "Lost Battalion".

Men of the 442nd used bayonets to dig out the enemy while repulsing numerous German counterattacks. On 30 October, they broke through to the two hundred and eleven remaining men who had held out for seven days without food or water and with little ammunition. The vicious and heroic action of the 442nd had reduced its company strength to 40 to 50 men. The month of October had been a gruelling one as the rapidity of the advance had slowed. Ground support roles for the 443rd’s gun-tracks had been frequent and the success of the tactics employed was widely recognized. Infantrymen were loud in their praises of the "flak-wagon" and the enemy had experienced MA (SP) fire power in a most demoralizing manner.

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