The story of the American "Lost Battalion" in World War II that was caught behind enemy lines atop a hill in Mortain, France following the D-Day Invasion. The American GIs held out without knowing whether a relief effort could be undertaken and in desperate circumstances: at one point American artillery tried firing hollow shells filled with plasma, morphine and other medical supplies to the troops. Multiple supply drops missed the encircled battalion and instead were retrieved by the Nazi forces surrounding them. The Germans employed deception to attempt to entice the fiercely fighting GIs to surrender, approaching the hill in captured American jeeps dressed in American uniforms. The battalion was finally rescued when the American forces that had been bogged down in Western France were able to break out.
When the Germans launched their biggest counter-attack in France during WWII, the elite troops of the 2nd SS Panzer Division surrounded a battalion of less than 700 US infantry on top of a key hill near Mortain in Normandy. The American "Lost Battalion", equipped with very little food, medical supplies, ammunition, or anti-tank weapons, held out for sixty days. At the end of the battle, 277 of the riflemen were dead, wounded, or missing. Author Robert Weiss experienced those harrowing days of the war, directing much of the fire as a field artillery forward observer on the hill. As the battle progressed, his dying radio soon became the only means of communication between his trapped infantry and the Allies. In vivid detail, Weiss combines his personal recollections of the battle with the official record (unearthed in the National Archives) to recount what general Omar Bradly called "one of the epochal struggles of the war."
Weiss' story is illuminated by photographs, notes, maps, and diagrams, rarely seen by civilians.
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