Go For Broke!
The Rescue of the “Lost Battalion” by
the 442nd Regimental Combat Team
and 100th Infantry Battalion
Clare O’Brien
World War Two In Europe
442nd Regimental Combat
Team: An all Japanese
American army combat team
of over 12,000 volunteers
100th Infantry Battalion
(Separate): First combat unit
in US history to be comprised
of exclusively Japanese
American soldiers from
Both comprised of Nisei
(Second generation
141st Texas Regiment: The
regiment that would come to
be known as the “Lost
Members of the 100th Infantry Battalion
Organization of the 442nd Combat
Team & the 100th Battalion
442nd Regimental Combat
-Colonel Charles W. Pence
-Lieutenant Colonel James L.
-Major Alex E. McKenzie
-Major William H. Blytt
100 Battalion
-Lieutenant Colonel Farrant L.
-Lieutenant Colonel James L.
442nd Infantry Regiment
1st Battalion (100th Infantry Battalion)
Companies A, B, C, D
2nd Battalion - Companies E, F, G, H
3rd Battalion - Companies I, K, L, M
522 Field Artillery Battalion - 16 Mar
1945, reassigned to 7th Army
232 Combat Engineering Company
Anti- Tank Company
Cannon Company
Service Company
206 Army Band
Supporting Units
599th Field Artillery Battalion of 92nd
Origins of the Rescue
• The 442nd and the 141st Texas
Regiment were both part of the
36th Division under the
command of Major General
John Dahlquist
• They were fighting in Eastern
France, near the German border
• Dahlquist had ordered the 141st
Texas Regiment to advance four
miles beyond friendly forces
where the Germans surrounded
• The Fuhrer ordered the German
troops to hold the area with no
surrender or retreat
Major General John Dahlquist
The Battle Begins
• Texans were not rescued by their own men in the 141st, nor by
other white soldiers in the 143rd Regiment
• Dahlquist ordered the Nisei, battle fatigued from their liberations of
Bruyeres and Biffontaine, to rescue the battalion
• October 25th,1944: General Dahlquist ordered the regiment to line
the flank of the main body of the 141st
Lt. Col. James
Commander of
the Second
Battalion of the
442d, handdrawn map.
objective and
route of attack
October 27th
Dahlquist ordered the battalions of the 442nd to rescue the Lost Battalion but
progress was slow
Attempted movement of tanks were stopped my land mines
The terrain was next to impossible, heavily forested and carpeted with a dense
growth of underbrush
The Nisei faced a tank and infantry attack by the Germans but broke the assault
despite that they were outnumbered 4 to 1
October 28th
• Both battalions continued the drive forward in the face of stubborn
resistance and heavy artillery and mortar fire
• Casualties went up and up, caused largely by tree bursts and
resulting shrapnel, from which there was no escape
• Tanks couldn’t move on steep and slippery hillsides covered with
underbrush and fallen trees
October 29th
• The situation for the
Lost Battalion was
worsening, drinking
water and medical
supplies were nearly
• An initial attack by the
442nd/100th on the
Germans failed in the
face of superior
firepower but Dahlquist
ordered to resume the
• They were ordered to charge up a heavily defended ridge that would come to be
known as “Suicide Hill” with fixed bayonets, exchanging automatic weapons fire with
Germans at point blank range
• The Nisei were “killing or seriously wounding the enemy gun crews, but themselves
sprawling dead over the enemy positions they had just neutralized”
• When asked for reinforcements to offset the heavy casualties, Dahlquist replied he
could only send some engineer personnel
October 30th
The Nisei faced opposition of
staggering numbers, fighting
through a mine field, but
continued to batter the
encirclement of Germans around
the Lost Battalion
• Finally, the German position atop
Suicide Hill was taken and the
German line unraveled
• Contact with the Lost Battalion
was made and the Nisei rescued
211 of the 275 men who had
been trapped
• When word reached Dahlquist, he
ordered the Nisei to remain in
the woods and be prepared to
capture the next hill
• 442nd unit lost more than
800 troops while rescuing
211 men behind enemy
• The Nisei were sent into
some of the worst battles
• Many of them felt that
they were considered
• General Dahlquist used
the Nisei more ruthlessly
than his own troops
• Some Nisei excuse
Dahlquist, but most
remember the hundreds
of Nisei casualties battling
to rescue the 211 Texans
who should not have been
there in the first place
Casualties of the Campaign which
included the Rescue of the Lost
Casualty Table
Minor WIA
O = Officers
EM = Enlisted Men
DOW = Died of Wounds
Minor WIA = Not hospitalized Wounded in Action
IIA = Injured in Action
Legacy: Overcoming Prejudice
• “The Nisei battled against
suspicion, intolerance,
and a hatred that was
conceived in some dark
corner of the American
mind and born in the
flames that swept Pearl
• The Nisei proved their
loyalty and their bravery
• The 442nd Combat Team
was one of the most highly
decorated units in WWII
Truman addresses the Nisei and
notes they fought both the enemy
and prejudice and won
Overcoming Prejudice: In Their Own Words
Ben H. Tamashiro (100th
Infantry Battalion): “ We were,
in fact, Americans in our
hearts, and that the color of
our skin and the slant of our
eyes had nothing to do with it.”
Kenneth K. Inada (442nd
Regimental Combat Team): “I
relish [my] experiences, for I
believe that they are the
foundations for human
relationships that transcend
our cultural differences.”
Conrad Tsukayama
(100th Infantry
Battalion): “Our efforts
to recue the Lost
Battalion in the dense
Vosges Mountains of
France tested our
courage and brought
forth the extra
cohesiveness of the Nisei
Lyn Crost (442nd/100th
War Correspondent):
“They had fought not only
a foreign enemy, but also
prejudice and suspicion.
And they had set the
standard for Japanese
American soldiers who
Decorations received by the 100th Infantry
Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team
21 Medals of Honor (20 awarded on June 1, 2000)
29 Distinguished Service Crosses (including 19
Distinguished Service Crosses which were
upgraded to Medals of Honor in June 2000)
Over 334 Silver Stars with 28 Oak Leaf Clusters
(in lieu of second Silver Star. One Silver Star was
Upgraded to a Medal of Honor in June 2000)
7 Presidential Unit Citations
1 Distinguished Service Medal
17 Legion of Merit Medals
15 Soldier's Medals
Over 848 Bronze Stars with 1,200 Oak
Leaf Clusters (in lieu of second Bronze Star)*
1 Air Medal
Over 4,000 Purple Hearts
36 Army Commendations
87 Division Commendations
Over 20 French Croix de Guerre with 2 Palms (in lieu of a second award)
2 Italian Crosses for Military Valor (Croce Al Merito Di Guerra)
2 Italian Medals for Military Valor (Medaglia De Bronzo Al Valor Militaire)
1 Soldier's Medal (Great Britain)
President Barack Obama and his guests, including Senator Inouye, a former member of the 442nd Regimental
Combat Team, applaud after signing S.1055, a bill to grant the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the
100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, in recognition of their dedicated service
during World War II, in the Oval Office.
Veterans of the 141st Infantry Regiment of the Texas Army National Guard and the 442nd
Regimental Combat Team are recognized at the 65th anniversary of the rescue of the "Lost
Battalion" in Houston, Nov. 1, 2009.
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team Historical Society. “The Battle of Bruyeres
– ‘Lost Battalion’.” Accessed November 9, 2012.
Crost, Lyn. Honor By Fire: Japanese Americans at War in Europe and the
Pacific. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1994.
Go For Broke: National Education Center. “The Rescue of the Lost
Battalion.” Accessed November 9, 2012.
Hawaii Nikkei History Editorial Board. Japanese Eyes, American Heart:
Personal Reflections of Hawaii’s World War II Nisei Soldiers.
Honolulu: Tendai Educational Foundation, 1998.
The Italian Campaign. “WW2 History of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team
and the 100th Battalion.” Accessed November 9, 2012.
Yenne, Bill. Rising Sons: The Japanese GIs who Fought for the United States in
World War II. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2007.