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Bloody Moselle

 

"On 1 September, 1944, the 80th Infantry Division moved east from Chalons towards the Meuse River.  No enemy defensive line was established, but organized resistance in the form of delaying actions by strong enemy motorized patrols reinforced with some self-propelled artillery were encountered.  The bridgehead across the Meuse River was established at Commercy without difficulty. 

 

At St. Mihel, the enemy opposed our approach to the town and the banks of the Meuse River,  but was driven back across the river by nightfall and the next morning our bridgehead was established across the Meuse River opposite St. Mihel, against light enemy resistance.  During the operation, 'battlegroups' from the 8th and 29th Regiments of the 3rd Panzer Grenadier Division, the 2nd Panzer Division, the 48th Infantry Division and the 49th SS Brigade were encountered.  P.W.'s were captured from remnants of many other German formations fleeing Eastward.  In his retreat, the enemy destroyed all bridges across the Meuse River and abandoned large supply stores intact in Commercy and Bar Le Duc.  It was also during this advance that the first evidences of German vandalism were encountered, towns of Mettancourt, Lahayecourt and other farms and villages were burned by the enemy for no military purpose. 

Recon. Scout Platoon

 

Cavalry patrols of the 80th Recon. Troop and Second Cavalry Squadron on the 2nd and 3rd of September reached the high ground west of the Moselle River; establishing that the main body of the enemy had withdrawn across the river.  Further reconnaissance revealed enemy strong points remaining in the Foret de L'Avant Garde and in the vicinity of Arnavilie.  It was further reported on the 3rd of September, that the enemy had withdrawn the main body of his troops from Toul and was digging in the high ground opposite the city on the East bank of the Moselle River.  During this reconnaissance, the 80th Recon. Troop secured the towns of Mamey and Martincourt, which had been burned to the ground and in which fifteen civilians had been murdered by the fleeing Nazis.  Other civilians were treated for wounds inflicted by German machine gun fire and grenades. 

 

On the 4th of September, the 319th Infantry Regiment successfully forced the first bridgehead across the Moselle River against fierce resistance by the 3rd Paratroop Training Regiment.  This regiment was composed of young and almost fanatical soldiers.  The bridgehead across the river did not receive any counter-attacks but the enemy occupied the towns and fortresses of Villey-Le-Sec and Grondre Ville and attempted to contain our advance from these advantageous positions.

 

On 4 September, attempts to cross the Moselle River at Pont A Mousson and north of Pont A Mousson met with fierce enemy resistance determined to be elements of the 3rd Panzer Grenadier and 15th Panzer Grenadier Divisions, and our units withdrew to make further preparations.  These divisions brought from Italy to establish a line at the Marne River had finally managed to get into position at the Moselle River. 

 

From the 5th to the 11th of September, mopping up operations continued on the West bank of the Moselle River.  An enemy task force, composed of paratroops and German Air Force personnel and known as Combat Team Hilmer, doggedly held the Foret de L'Avant Garde and the towns of Pompey, Marbache and Bellevilie against our attacks, suffering heavy casualties in so doing."

 

 

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