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The Moselle

An Infantry Perspective


7 October 1944: During the night of 6-7 October, we were moved 500 yards north into the Bois de Bauzard, and the 2nd Bn to the Bois de Mange Seille on the right. About 100 rounds of artillery fell in our area between 1730 and 1900. At 1915 the communication line went out, and we were out of contact for over an hour. Our position was shelled again around 2200. The 2nd Bn in the Bois de Mange Seille was also heavily shelled during the night, but our coordinated attack forced the enemy to fall back.  The German line was now running from the Seille river near Clemery SE to the western edge of the Bois de la Fourasse in the regiment's front.  Shortly after midnight a German sound truck in the 2nd Bn front began broadcasting surrender messages, stating that the GI's were surrounded. The truck was shelled at 0140, and not heard from again.  The weather remained clear.


8 October 1944: Sunday began with fog in the morning. The Regt CP had moved up to previously prepared positions in the Bois de Bauzard during the night. Tank support for the planned attack arrived at 0515, and the Regt moved against the Seille River defenses. The 318th Regt was on the division left, and the 1st Bn on the regimental left. The 1st Bn moved NE from the Bois de Bauzard at 0615 (with Co B, 702nd Tank Bn in support), after heavy 30 minute artillery and air preparation, with the objectives of Les Quatre Fers, Benicourt, and Clemery. Companies A and B, with C in reserve, moved past the highway junction at Renaissance Farm NE toward Les Quatre Fers.  Pinned down by machine gun, mortar, and artillery fire, the company commander, Captain Billy P. Lamb, and 1st platoon CO, Lt. Sam McAllister were wounded. The weapons platoon leader, S/Sgt. D.M. Smith, assumed command and carried the attack forward. Sgt. Louis Antal, 2nd Platoon, rushed forward and captured the only German left in a MG nest, then used the POW to assist wounded Pfc. Richard Assidio back to the aid station, for which he was subsequently awarded the DSC.  After securing Les Quatre Fers by 0715, A company, with B Co. on the flank, advanced to the outskirts of Benicourt, 500 yards north, then passed through Benicourt to Clemery at 0800. Moving under enemy fire, the high ground to the north was seized by 1130, and positions set up overlooking the Seille River. It was at Clemery that Sgt. Watson W. Paine of B Co was also cited for the DSC, when, after being wounded by shrapnel in both arms and hands, he assaulted and destroyed an enemy machine gun, delivered a message he was carrying to a platoon leader, and helped to destroy a second gun before being evacuated.  The fog lifted as the day wore on, but the skies remained cloudy.  We could hear the sounds of tanks in motion across the river as midnight approached.


A total of  3 officers and 36 EM were wounded, missing or injured, and 14 EM killed in the attack: KIA: Vercil Aheron, William Baker, David Barrett, George Bongeorno, Clarence Campbell, William Coghill, David Curry, Kenneth Foster, Roscoe Gray, Merrill Haggarty, Albert Knizer, Richard Marcotte, Jesse Sandifer, and Gilbert Stank.  WIA: Capt. Lamb, A Co C.O. since April, 1943, 1st Lt. Sam McAllister (platoon leader), 1st Lt. John Morrison (assistant platoon. leader.), Milan Adamek, Marion Adamick, Nunzio Angiolelli, Richard Assidio, Harry Barrick, Lee Roy Beohme (3rd Platoon, returned to duty as a non-combatant at the general hospital in Liege, Belgium after four months of recovery in England), Floyd Blankenship, Clifford Carrier, Joseph Christen, Pankney Dale, Frank Ferullo, William Green, Emery Horvath, Richard Jacobs, Albert Krause, Alvin Meche, Lloyd Miller, Luther Moore,  John Moran, Harry Munday, Harold Paul, John Pettit, Robert Pine, Henry Poulter, John Reeb, Edward Reed, Harlin Roe, Clyde Sanborn, Melvin Schuelter, Jack Seemuth, Harry Sher, Walter Silocka, Antonio Torres (by a mortar shell), and  Harold Yanof. Sgt. Ron Martin, platoon leader of the 1st Platoon, was seriously WIA by an 88 and, assisted by Sgt.'s. Rowe and Barack, evacuated under heavy artillery fire. He remained hospitalized for the duration of the war. MIA: Baxter Fender.  The Regt had incurred 170 casualties in the attack, but all of its objectives for the day had been taken.  Mt. St. Jean had been assaulted and finally taken by the 317th, and Mt. Toulon by the 319th, following air strikes by P-47 Thunderbolts on the previous day.


Pillinger continues: On the morning of 7 Oct, we were located in the woods near the base of Mt. St. Jean. The P-47's came in to bomb and strafe. So they would not bomb us, I laid out red air to ground communication panels in an arrow pointing to Mt. St. Jean: 'The Bad Guys Are Up There!'  "At 0615, 8 Oct, the 3rd Bn, 317 attacked the southern slope of Mt. St. Jean under heavy enemy fire. K Co, with L Co following, cleared the Germans off the mountain by 1600. Sgt. Rief and I followed behind L Co. A mortar shell hit behind us, and we dove into a German machine gun nest. Four dead Germans were in there, slumped over their guns. It appeared the P-47s did them in. We continued up the mountain and found a dirt mound similar to the Indian burial mounds in Florida and Mississippi. On the mound was a sign in English, which read, "here lays the bodies of 26 Americans." I wondered if any of my men were in there. Counted among my losses were three key men of the platoon; Lt. Himes, killed, Sgt. Troutman, squad leader and message center chief, wounded, Sgt. Thomas, squad leader and wire chief, captured. The platoon was badly depleted."



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