The Alleged Mutiny of Company I
NORWICH UNIV NORTHFIELD VT
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As historians read about the events that took place in Russia following the Great War, they find the ugly word mutiny associated with Company I, 339th Infantry, due to accusations of disobedience within the company. The mutiny is a little known event in the history of a relatively unknown expedition that was launched in the closing months of the Great War in which 4,000 U.S. troops were dispatched to northern Russia. Why was Company I of the 339th Regiment, which composed the bulk of the expeditions strength, accused of mutiny at Archangel, Russia, in the spring of 1919 This thesis investigates the background of the alleged mutiny mutinies that have occurred prior to the incident with Company I relations between the American companies and other Allies serving in Archangel, primarily British forces and the conditions under which the soldiers fought. The author concludes that the men of Company I, 339th Infantry, Eighty-fifth Division did not mutiny. They hesitated to follow a preliminary order given by an NCO, but when an officer repeated the order the men did as they were told. The event was blown out of proportion by correspondents looking for an interesting story to send to the states. The issue got out of hand when the British used the heavily exaggerated story the correspondents wrote as recruiting propaganda to compensate for the loss of control over U.S. soldiers upon General Richardsons arrival. Furthermore, the British are to blame for the dishonorable branding of a brave unit of men who risked their lives, as others did not. Company I was not guilty of mutiny, nor should any textbook today refer to them as such given the extenuating circumstances. Rather, the record of the false charges should be wiped clean, leaving Company Is record the way it was brilliant, honorable, and patriotic.
- Humanities and History
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics