A forlorn hope

Also found in: Idioms.
(Mil.) a body of men (called in F. enfants perdus, in G. verlornen posten) selected, usually from volunteers, to attempt a breach, scale the wall of a fortress, or perform other extraordinarily perilous service; also, a desperate case or enterprise.

See also: Forlorn

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
References in periodicals archive ?
Against Gold in their current form it was a forlorn hope that the Albert Club C team would pinch even a point.
But knowing the way justice moves in this country, if it moves at all, that may remain a forlorn hope.
Sadly, that may be a forlorn hope so police patrols and inquiries will need to be stepped up in the area.
POSSIBLY a forlorn hope, but on the glorious occasion of the Wales win over England at the Millennium Stadium, my cap, and very nearly my umbrella and myself, was blown off into the Taff as I waited to enter the ground on the stadium side.
But if that too proves a forlorn hope, the disappointment may be offset by an announcement about enterprise zones to be set up in the North East.
We know it can sound a forlorn hope but this teenager's death can help avoid future killings.
Geordieland had only five finishers behind him in the Melbourne Cup last year after breaking a blood vessel, and Osborne said: "It all went wrong for him in Australia, but he put up a good performance at York last time and is not a forlorn hope for the Gold Cup.