1 The American records have been discussed in the notes to Chapter V. German documents are adequate for this period, but the X111 SS Corps KTB has been lost or destroyed‑as have most Waflen-Ss combat records.
4 In the autumn of 1918, Foch ordered Pershing and Pétain to lay plans for a great offensive in Lorraine. The Imperial German Army surrendered before the offensive could get under way, but even in its blueprint form this plan is worthy of notice: first because it repeats the categorical connection between terrain and tactics; second, because it gives an interesting comparison between the size of the force required in massed and slow-moving attacks (1918) and the force needed to cover the same ground in an era of greater mobility and fire power (1944). In the 1918 plan the front of the Allied advance was to extend from Metz to Dieuze. Six American divisions from the Second Army were to contain Metz with a drive east of the city. The French Tenth Army was to make the main effort, bypassing the Forêt de Grémecey on the north and driving to the Sarre River along the axis Delme-Faulquemont-St. Avold-Sarreguemines. On the right, the French Eighth Army would hook north from the Juvelize sector, clear the Forêt de Koecking, and take Morhange. The Allied forces allocated for this offensive numbered 28 infantry divisions, 3 cavalry divisions, 614 batteries, and 600 tanks. See Les Armies Françaises dans la Grande Guerre, Tome VII: 2éme vol. (Paris, 1938).
9 Hist Div Combat Interviews; 26th Inf Div AAR, Nov 44. OKW/WFSI KTB Ausarbeitung, Der Westen gives some of the German reactions to the XII Corps attack on 8 November. The German officers reporting the start of the American offensive noted that deception was excellent: radio silence, lack of air activity, a short artillery preparation, the late movement of infantry to the line of departure, and the concentration of tanks well to the rear‑each was singled out as effective.
10 The commanding officer of the 104th Infantry, Col. Dwight T. Colley, was awarded the DSC for personal bravery in leading the attack on 8 November. During the action at Vic-sur-Seille Sgt. Charles J. Yestramski, E Company, 104th Infantry, saved a comrade at the cost of his own life. Sergeant Yestramski, although himself wounded, volunteered to carry a wounded man back across a footbridge which was under fire. A German shell broke the bridge and threw both men into the river. Sergeant Yestramski kept his companion afloat until help arrived, but was then swept away and drowned. The sergeant was awarded the DSC posthumously in the house-to-house fight inside the town 1st Lt. Max M. Fitzpatrick of C Company distinguished himself by advancing ahead of his platoon and destroying, a German machine gun crew. Fitzpatrick was killed while searching out the enemy in a house from which fire had been directed against his men. He received the DSC posthumously.
11 Hist Div Combat Interviews; 101st Inf Jnl; Ltr, Col Walter T. Scott to Hist Div, 14 Jul 47. These items cover the entire fight for Hill 310. The action at the hill on 8 November, although unsuccessful, was marked by numerous deeds of heroism. Pfc. Roy W. Smith, G Company, 101st Infantry, was acting as an ammunition bearer when he saw a machine gunner fall wounded. He crawled forward under direct fire, took over the gun and manned it, although wounded, until he was killed. Private Smith received the DSC in a posthumous award. Pfc. George R. Meyer, L Company, 101st Infantry, was awarded the DSC for attacking alone with his BAR, killing eight of the enemy, wounding four, and knocking out two machine guns.
12 For his heroism during the fight near Bezange-la-Petite on 8 November Cpl. Alfred L. Wilson, an aid man with the 328th Infantry, received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Despite his own wounds, Corporal Wilson worked his way under fire to dress the wounds of others. When he could no longer move Wilson gave instructions until his wounds made it impossible for him to speak. He died refusing aid for himself. Pfc. Henry F. Howington, D Company, 328th Infantry, received the DSC as a result of the same action. At the edge of the village of Bezangc-la-Petite, A Company was halted by fire from a German machine gun. Private Howington charged the gun, destroyed it, and killed three of the crew. At Moncourt Pvt. Melvin A. Cross of G Company was awarded the DSC for standing alone with his BAR and covering the withdrawal of his platoon during an enemy counterattack.
22 4th Armed Div AAR, 12 Nov 44; Hist Div Combat Interviews; 26th Div G-3 Jnl. The 104th regimental journal for this period is missing. Much valuable information has been supplied by Col. Ralph A. Palladino in a letter to the Historical Division, 20 September 1947. See also CCA AAR, 12-13 Nov 44.
28 The account of the fight to gain a footing in the woods has been taken from interviews with the commanding officers of the 1st and 2d Battalions, 320th Infantry (Hist Div Combat Interviews). See also 320th Inf AAR and Jul.
37 The X11 Corps commander had ordered all "walking troops" to remove their overshoes at the beginning of the 8 November offensive. The infantry generally preferred to go into action without overshoes since they gave uncertain footing.
38 German intelligence believed that the 4th Armored Division had been withdrawn from the Third Army front because of crippling losses. Army Group G KTB, 17 Nov 44. Although the XX Corps was closing in on Metz at this time, Rundstedt was not particularly concerned about an American break-through in the Metz sector but instead feared an American penetration via Sarreguemines. Army Group G KTB, 15 Nov 44.
39 In the advance near Pévange, south of Morhange, Pfc. Wilbur C. Pyle, C Company, 134th Infantry, made a lone attack in which he killed or captured the occupants of four successive foxholes. For this singlehanded battle he was awarded the DSC. Private Pyle was killed shortly after this action.
43 Capt. John B. Kelly, G Company, 318th Infantry, received the DSC for gallantry in this fight. He had received severe abdominal wounds while leading his company, but nonetheless went forward to an exposed position to direct artillery fire. Captain Kelly died shortly after from his wounds.
44 For gallantry in this action Capt. Raymond G. ROY, 318th Infantry, received the DSC. Captain Roy had already distinguished himself as a daring combat leader during the fighting near Ste. Genevéve in mid-September.
45 Sgt. Coleman S. Rogers, a medical aid man attached to the 317th, was wounded by artillery fire. Disregarding his own condition he dragged himself through the mud to another wounded man, then tried to carry the soldier out on his back. Rogers collapsed from loss of blood and was found some time later. He was awarded the DSC.
47 The 6th Armored Division's Combat Record, one of the best unit histories of World War II, gives a good account of the November operations. It is augmented and in part corrected by the extensive coverage given in the Historical Division Combat Interviews.
48 Historical Division Combat Interviews give the 6th Armored plans for a dash toward the east and tell the story of this initial stalemate. At noon on 8 November Read ordered the cavalry to advance in front of CCB toward the division objective. 86th Cav Unit Jnl, 8 Nov 44. The CCB commander expected the cavalry to seize crossings over the Nied Française which could be used by the main body of the command. CCB AAR, Nov 44. General Grow, however, did not count on the cavalry for this mission. Ltr, Gen Grow to Hist Div, 23 Feb 49.
51 Lieutenant Edwards had been standing in the open turret firing a submachine gun. Before he was shot he succeeded in disposing of two German rocket launcher teams. Edwards was awarded the DSC posthumously.
52 Colonel Burnette and Lieutenant Nutter were awarded the DSC posthumously for bravery in this action. Colonel Hines, Captain Craig, and Corporal Cunningham also received the DSC; Captain Craig was promoted to the rank of major. Company B, 68th Tank Battalion, was given a Distinguished Unit Citation for its part in the fight. Both the armor and infantry sustained heavy losses in the action at the bridge. The 6th Armored Division After Action Report gives its casualties as 21 killed and 239 wounded. The 317th Infantry S-3 journal reports an effective 1st Battalion strength of 7 Officers and too men on the night of 11 November.
54 This tank was the M4A3E2, a Sherman medium tank to which more armor had been added. Only a few of this model reached the European Theater of Operations before the end of 1944. It was intended as a stophotos/pgap until the heavier Pershing tank could be put into production.
57 A message entry in the CCA S-3 journal, at 04 15 on 15 November, is typical of countless messages sent out by armored units during the autumn campaign: "When will Doughs be up? We need them and need them bad."
58 During the fight in Landroff Sgt. Herbert S. Latimer, B Company, 44th Armored Infantry Battalion, took command of a platoon whose officers and NCO's all were casualties. Sergeant Latimer led the platoon with such gallantry as to receive the DSC. Capt. Daniel E. Smith, the American commander in Landroff, also was awarded the DSC for bravery in the hand-to-hand battle for the village. In the course of rescuing two of his wounded men, he himself was wounded and had to be taken to the rear. Company A, 68th Tank Battalion, received the Distinguished Unit Citation for its part in the Landroff action. The company suffered ninety-seven casualties.
59 Near the town of Thonville the infantry were brought under accurate artillery and mortar fire. Cpl. Otis M. Redd, C Company, 305th Medical Battalion, went alone to care for the most seriously wounded. Redd treated some twenty‑seven of the wounded, all the while under German fire. He was awarded the DSC.
Last updated 12 October 2004