Chapter 9 Endnotes

1 Source materials for American units have been discussed in notes to Chapter VIII. The German sources for the present chapter generally are manuscripts prepared by officers taking part in the operation. The Army Group G KTB contains much on the decision to defend Metz, as does the OB WEST KTB.

2 Colonel Joachim Siegroth's Kampfgruppe, consisting of the trainee detachments and school troops, was awarded a special arm band with the words METZ 1944 in recognition of its battles in September.

3 General der Infanterie Kurt von Tippelskirch, who had arrived on 30 October to take over the First Army while Knobelsdorff went on leave, advised that Metz be abandoned at once, citing his personal experiences as commander of the Fourth Army on the Eastern Front. MS #B-491.

4 The policy of defending all fortified areas, even when cut off and surrounded, seems to have been outlined by OKW about the time Field Marshal Kluge replaced Field Marshal Rundstedt as commander on the Western Front. Hitler had already formulated such a general policy for defense on the Russian front. The theory was that fortifications should be manned with poor troops and arms, prior to the withdrawal of the main field forces, and then held as long as possible so as to contain large numbers of the enemy. Many German generals disagreed with this doctrine. General Zimmermann estimates that Some 200,000 German troops were lost in this manner, without equivalent gains. On the other hand there were numerous cases in which the Allied advance was considerably delayed by such tactics. Metz certainly is one such case. See MS #T-121 (Zimmermann et al.).

5 MS #A-000 (Mellenthin).

6 The 1216th Regiment had been attached to the 19th VG Division in early November. It occupied positions on the east bank of the Moselle, just north of Metz.

7 MS #B-079 (Kittel); OB WEST situation maps; Army Group G KTB, 4 Nov 44.

8 The shuttling of the 5th, 90th, and 95th Divisions in and out of the XX Corps lines seems to have caused some confusion among the Germans. A prisoner taken by the 95th Division reported that the Germans knew that both the 90th and 5th Divisions had been so crippled as to necessitate their combination in one division, the new 95th. (At least, as General Twaddle commented, the Germans were correct in concluding that 90+5=95.) Ltr, Gen Twaddle to Hist Div, 17 Jan 49.

9 Irwin Diary; Ltr, Gen Walker to Hist Div, 8 Oct 47; 5th Div G-3 Jnl, 9 Nov 44.

10 MS #B-412 (Einem); MS #B-491 (Tippelskirch).

11 The 17th SS commander was in process of moving troops to make a limited counterattack, with the objective of retaking the high ground southeast of Corny, when the American offensive struck.

12 The 818th Tank Destroyer Battalion and the 284th Field Artillery Battalion had already been attached to support the 5th Division attack.

13 On the air attack of 9 November see: AAF Evaluation Board, Effectiveness of Third Phase Tactical Air Operations in the European Theater, Aug 45; Eighth Air Force Report (MS), pp. 85-94; IX Bombardment Div Daily Summary, 9 Nov 44; Eighth AF Int Opns Summary, 9 Nov 44. Einem, chief of staff of the XIII SS Corps, says that the bombing struck the right flank of the corps but did little damage. MS #B-412. However, General Irwin, 5th Division commander, expressed himself as being "highly satisfied with the bombing and results obtained." Ltr, Gen Irwin to XX Corps, 19 Nov 44, in XX Corps G-3 Jnl. Lt. Col. I. P. Murray, G-3, Air, Third Army, later reported his opinion that one bomb had struck Fort Yser. German records give considerable attention to the Jabo's (fighter-bombers).

14 The 5th Division G-1 Journal gives these losses: 3 officers and 117 men in the 10th Infantry; 1 officer and 37 men in the 2d Infantry (the latter figure is incomplete).

15 MS #A-000 (Mellenthin). The failure of the 48th Division, on the left of the 17th SS, explains the manner in which the latter folded on 9-10 November. See Chap. VII, pp. 354-55.

16 At 1710 the 48th Division was ordered to retire behind the Nied. Three hours later the 17th SS, which no longer had contact with the 48th, received orders to retire to an east-west line generally north of Corny-Pouilly-Sorbey. This withdrawal ultimately placed the 17th SS at right angles to the 48th. Army Group G KTB, 11 Nov 44.

17 Irwin Diary.

18 Second Infantry Regiment; MS #A-871 (Feuchtinger).

19 Two more counterattacks were thrown against the 2d Infantry bridgehead on the morning of 14 November. Prisoners later said that 750 troops had been used and that only one-third of this number remained as effectives when the German effort was finally halted. Second Infantry Regiment. The following units that were engaged in the defeat of the initial German attacks were awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation: E Company, 2d Infantry; 1st Section, 3d Platoon, H Company; 1st Platoon, A Company, 735th Tank Battalion.

20 Irwin Diary, 14 and 16 Nov 44.

21 The capture of these woods forced the southern enemy artillery groupment to displace to Fort Queuleu and curtailed German observation.

22 An artillery forward observer with the 5th Division, 2d Lt. Lee R. Jamison, here called for artillery fire on his own observation post in order to break up a German counterattack which threatened a weak portion of the American line. He was awarded the DSC.

23 On this date Sgt. Richard L. Marnell, E Company, 11th Infantry, displayed valor for which he received the DSC. When his platoon was checked by fire from antiaircraft and machine gun positions Sergeant Marnell crawled along a fire-swept ditch and destroyed two of the German positions with hand and rifle grenades.

24 See Kittel's Personalakten for his earlier history. His views on "Fortress Metz" are expressed in MS #B-079.

25 At 1750, on the day Kittel took command, OB WEST noted "a sudden and appreciable deterioration" all along the Army Group G front-hardly an auspicious introduction for Kittel's defense of Metz.

26 The force under Kittel's command on the evening of 14 November was composed of the 462d VG Division, the regimental staffs of the 22d and 25th Fortress Regiments, three fortress machine gun battalions, two SS machine gun battalions, one fortress engineer battalion, five fortress infantry battalions, two fortress artillery battalions, and two Flak battalions from the IV Flak Corps.

27 As an example, the 462d Fuesilier Battalion had been sent to retake the Bois de l'Hôpital but, before it could attack, was recalled and sent across the Moselle to the Fort Jeanne d'Arc area.

28 Hist Div Combat Interviews.

29 379th Inf AAR, 14 Nov 44.

30 On 14 November the 462d Fuesilier Battalion was committed in the Jeanne d'Arc sector. Elements of the 1010th Secutity Regiment cut off the American 2d Battalion. It is probable that the 1217th Regiment opposed the 1st Battalion.

31 The November After Action Reports of both the 378th and 379th continually speak of the difficulties involved in bypassing fortifications during a slow advance.

32 Pfc. Elmer A. Eggert, L Company, 379th Infantry, advanced alone against a machine gun, during the 3d Battalion attack, killed five of the enemy with his BAR, and captured four. He received the DSC.

33 This took place on the afternoon of 17 November. 95th Div AAR, 17 Nov 44.

34 Hist Div Combat Interviews; 358th Inf AAR, 15 Nov 44.

35 Cpl. C. J. Smith, C Company, 778th Tank Battalion, was awarded the DSC for his part in the fight at Woippy. Inside the village his tank received a direct hit. Smith continued to fire the tank gun, while his crew left the tank. Then he dismounted the .30-caliber machine gun and fought on alone until help arrived.

36 Part of the 3d Battalion, 377th Infantry, attacked at Fort Gambetta on 16 November. Here Capt. Samuel T. Pinckney, K Company, 377th Infantry, led the assault until he was wounded and physically incapable of continuing. Even then he rallied his men and encouraged them to continue the attack. He was killed by a mortar shell before he could be evacuated. Captain Pinckney received the DSC posthumously.

37 Company K of the 377th made an assault at Fort Gambetta on 17 November. The company commander was killed and Sgt. F. M. Peterson, a squad leader, took charge, rallying and reorganizing the company. Peterson continued the assault, in which he personally accounted for two automatic weapons positions, and then led the company in a successful withdrawal. He was awarded the DSC.

38 The BBC had broadcast to the Metz FFI to seize these bridges, but the Germans noted no extensive French activity until late on 18 November.

39 95th Div AAR, 19 Nov 44; 377th Inf S-3 Jnl, 20 Nov 44; 95th Div G-3 Jnl, 18 and 19 Nov 44.

40 Detailed explanation is given in Historical Division Combat Interviews.

41 Ibid. During the action on 19 November Pfc. Walter Low, G Company, 378th Infantry, observed fire coming from a large pillbox. He ran to the pillbox under bitter cross fire, threw in a grenade, and routed thirty-two of the German occupants. Low received the DSC.

42 95th Div AAR, 18 Nov 44.

43 The losses suffered by the 95th Division in the November fighting prior to the capitulation of Metz cannot be accurately stated. Since the division was new to battle all of its regimental reports tended to overestimate their losses. (This is stated by the divisional G-1 in the After Action Report for November 1944.) Estimated casualties for the period of combat up to 22 November are given in the 95th Division AAR as 281 KIA, 405 MIA, and 1,503 WIA: a total of 2,189 casualties. Enemy losses for this period are estimated as 6,082 prisoners, 1,577 KIA, and 3,546 WIA. The last two figures cannot be taken as reliable and the first is open to question.

44 The 11th Infantry lost 4 officers and 118 men on this date. Although not excessive, these losses indicate the stubborn character of the German fight for the airfield. The 11th Infantry was also suffering badly from trench foot. Company F had only 14 men available for duty. 5th Div G-1 Jnl, 16 Nov 44. See also 5th Div AAR and Eleventh Infantry Regiment.

45 The 11th Infantry After Action Report for November notes that the regiment made its greatest gains by night operations and says that the enemy did not like to fight at night. This latter allegation, incidentally, is constantly made against the American infantry in German documents.

46 735th Tk Bn AAR, 19 Nov 44; 90th Rcn Tr Jnl, 19 Nov 44. The first detachments to meet came from the assault gun section of the 735th and a cavalry platoon.

47 The 2d Battalion captured Fort Queuleu on 21 November. 5th Div AAR, 21 Nov 44.

48 The estimated losses for the 5th Division during November, nearly all incurred in the first three weeks, are given by the 5th Division After Action Report as follows: 13 and 172 KIA; 39 and 1,005 WIA; 4 and 143 MIA. The sick and nonbattle casualty rate of the 5th Division was very high. Figures for the entire division are not available, but the 11th Infantry, with a total of 380 battle casualties, had 1,081 sick and nonbattle casualties (mostly trench foot). 5th Div G-1 Jnl.

49 The 38th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment appears to have suffered fairly heavily in this withdrawal. See MS #B-487 (Simon).

50 The First Army estimated on 17 November that the heart of the city could be held for three or four days and that the main forts could be defended for fifteen days. Army Group G KTB, 17 Nov 44.

51 MS #13-079 (Kittel).

52 Resistance ended officially at 1435 on 22 November. XX Corps AAR, 22 Nov 44.

53 MS #13-079 (Kittel). The XX Corps estimates of the German losses in the defense of Metz are: 14,368 prisoners, 3,800 KIA, and 7,904 WIA. See 5th Div G-3 Jnl, 24 Nov 44. It is probable that the German estimates are too low; certainly the American estimates are too high. The formations written off by the Germans after the fall of Metz include: the 462d VG Division, the 45th and 53d Fortress Machine Gun Battalions, the 811th Fortress Infantry Flak Battalion, the 1311th and 1519th Army Fortress Artillery Battalions, and the 55th Fortress Engineer Battalion. See OKH/Org. Abt. KTB, 2 Dec 44.

54 General Irwin credits the fall of St. Privat largely to the personal efforts of the 11th Infantry commander, Col. P. J. Black, who had relieved Col. C. W. Yuill on 21 November. Irwin Diary.

55 The total number of prisoners taken from these three forts was 59 officers and 1,516 men. The credit for the surrender of Fort Driant was claimed by both the 5th and 87th Divisions. However, the weight of the evidence confirms the 5th Division claims. The 345th Infantry had begun the relief of the 2d Infantry but had not officially taken over the area. See TUSA AAR, I; XX Corps AAR, 8 Dec 44; 2d Inf AAR, 8. Dec 44; Irwin Diary. Cf. 87th Div AAR, 8 Dec 44. General Walker had done his best to hold on to the Fort Driant sector so that the 5th Infantry Division could have credit for its capture. This was much appreciated by General Irwin and his division.

56 The surrender was made actually to the 26th Infantry Division.

57 German commanders who took part in the Metz campaign are generally of the opinion that the November operation should have been concluded by the Americans in less time than that actually taken. Such testimony, in part at least, is suspect as being proffered to bolster up the thesis common to many defeated commanders, namely, that their own forces were so lacking in materiel and so heavily outnumbered that naught but failure was possible. However, it is true that the events of September and earl), October had made the Americans wary of high losses and dramatic failures, such as the first attempt to take Fort Driant, and prompted a widespread use of cautious and slow-moving tactics in which crushing superiority in men, guns, and tanks was concentrated wherever the enemy showed signs of standing his ground. It must be added that mud and rain contributed greatly to slowing the American advance.

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