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Exclusive--O'Donnell: Doughboy Generation, The Wild Westerners’ Charge of the Light Brigade at Gesnes

Exclusive--O'Donnell: Doughboy Generation, The Wild Westerners’ Charge of the Light Brigade at Gesnes

Most of us have forgotten that average Americans, many of them poorly trained and using inadequate equipment, helped defeat one of the greatest armies in the world at the time — the German Army.

Time and time again, the Doughboy generation overcame seemingly impossible odds through grit and innovation.

A microcosm of that war and that generation was evident at the unknown battle at Gesnes, France, where the 362nd Regiment of the 91st Division charged into the heart of German defenses in the Meuse-Argonne.

It took more than an hour, but somehow, small groups of men eventually made their way to Gesnes and began the work of clearing the town.

“That is why a regiment without complete equipment or training could defeat such troops as the elite Prussian Guards, overcame positions of noted strength and still advanced, often without officers, after losing in a few minutes over 50 percent in casualties; the offensive spirit, the will to win, the fitness to win, in a word, the morale was such, the personnel was such, that victory was possible despite the greatest handicap.”

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