CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Four thousand Clevelanders walking in circles during WWI were enough to fool the entire Austrian army. In one of the more bizarre stories involving Cleveland, the story of the 332nd Infantry Regiment became heroes of Italy by marching in circles.
At the start of WWI the American Army had 100,000 men. The Army quickly swelled to 4 million men. Two million would be sent overseas during the hostilities, the clear majority going to France. When our allies in Italy requested troops they were sent the 332nd Infantry Regiment from Cleveland.
The 4,000 Clevelanders had one job, to convince the enemy in Austria that there were many more Americans then there actually were. Each day the Clevelanders would march to a town square, run around the back of the town, and do it again. At night they would move to another town.
By the end of the war the Austrians believed there were 300,000 Americans in Italy, when in fact it was the same 4,000 Clevelanders walking in circles.