Top 10 Famous Infantry Battalions

Whenever I do a top list, I always discover later on that I left someone or something out that should have been on the list. I expect it will be no different with the one I am going to write today. I am actually asking all of you reading this to give your opinions of the top 10 Infantry Battalions. It is not an easy chore, but I am going to attempt to provide what I feel are the top 10 famous Infantry Battalions.

What is a Battalion?

For those who are reading and are not familiar with the structure of the Army, I will briefly describe what a Battalion is. The Army Battalion has changed in structure over the years, but in general, a Battalion has a headquarters and several batteries or companies. Battalions have anywhere from 300 to 1,200 soldiers. A Battalion is led by a Commander (Lieutenant Colonel), an Executive Officer (Major) and a Command Sergeant Major.

Throughout time from the Revolutionary War until today, the Battalion has been seen in many different formats. This post will not use any special time structure. I am just going to provide what I believe to be the top 10 famous Infantry Battalions, and here they are starting with #10:

10: 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment

This Battalion began in 1861 at Fort Trumbull, Connecticut. They are now a part of the 10th Mountain Division and based at Fort Benning, Georgia. This Battalion has participated in many campaigns throughout its history:

  • Civil War: 12 campaigns

  • Indian Wars: 4 campaigns

  • Manila in the Spanish/American War

  • Philippine/American War: 3 campaigns

  • World War II: 2 campaigns

  • Korean War: 5 campaigns

  • Vietnam War: 12 campaigns

  • War on Terror: 3 campaigns

The 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment has been awarded 7 decorations through the years.

9: 5th Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment

Same as #10, the 5th Battalion also started in 1861 at Fort Trumbull. The 5th is no longer active, they were inactivated in 1995 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. The 5th also participated in many campaigns including:

  • Civil War: 12 campaigns

  • Indian Wars: 2 campaigns

  • The Spanish/American War

  • Philippine/American War: 5 campaigns

  • World War II: 2 campaigns

  • Korean War: 5 campaigns

  • Vietnam War: 4 campaigns

The 5th also earned the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.

8: 8th Army Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion

Led by Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Aimee DeJarnette and Command Sergeant Major Kenneth Ashley, this Battalion stands at defense against aggressive acts from the North Koreans. If defensive tactics fail, this Battalion will lead evacuation operations. The 8th Army Headquarters Battalion must make split second decisions on a daily basis.

7: All Battalions Under The 10th Special Forces Group

The 10th Special Forces Group became active in 1952. The Battalions under this group have played major roles in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and more. They consist of:

  • Headquarters and Headquarters Company
  • Group Support Battalion
  • 1st Battalion
  • 2nd Battalion
  • 3rd Battalion
  • 4th Battalion

6: Task Force Faith

These brave soldiers fought hard and long against the Chinese at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War. This lean and mean Army Battalion was destroyed, but they took many Chinese with them. Lieutenant Colonel Don Faith Jr was given the Medal of Honor for his role.

5: 123rd Aviation Battalion, 23rd Infantry Division

It is not a favorable action that happened in 1968 when a platoon of soldiers led by Lieutenant William Calley were told to slaughter many South Vietnamese citizens in the Mai Lai Massacre. It was members of the 123rd Aviation Battalion who attempted to intervene and stop the senseless killing.

4: 6th Ranger Battalion

They started off in 1942 as the 98th Field Artillery Battalion. Pulling the artillery with mules, which were becoming obsolete. They were reorganized and re-designated the 6th Ranger Battalion. The 6th Ranger Battalion saw action in the Invasion of Leyte in the Philippines, but what they are best known for is the Raid at Cabanatuan where they rescued over 500 POWs from the Japanese. It is still said to be the most successful rescue in the history of the United States military.

3: 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion

This Battalion was formed during World War II, but they never were deployed overseas. They are famous because this was a completely African American Airborne Battalion. They did see action on the West Coast, because the Japanese had sent balloons that carried bombs. These bombs started many fires, and the Triple Nickles were the firefighters.

2: The Lost Battalion

It was World War I and over 500 men from the 77th Division were sent deep into the Argonne Forest. German forces had them surrounded and nearly 200 were killed and another 150 were taken prisoner. The rest were rescued, but they are called the Lost Battalion, because they were the size of a Battalion. For this action, there were 7 Medals of Honor awarded.

1: 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry

It was World War II, and the United States Army had many Japanese American enlisted soldiers. But, the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. What should be done with these soldiers? They were sent to Europe to fight the Axis powers there. Led by Caucasian Officers, these Nisei soldiers fought well. So well that the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry is the most decorated unit in Army history. They were known as the Purple Heart unit. The 100th is still alive. It is the only infantry unit of the Army Reserves.

Final Thoughts

These are my choices for the top 10 Infantry Battalions…What are yours? Do you agree or disagree? I believe all of these have their rightful place on this list, but I may have overlooked one or two. So feel free to share your thoughts. Please post your comments or opinions below. Thanks for visiting.

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Email: chuck@part-time-commander.com

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