The Crossing at Arnaville
Late on 8 September, the day of the Dornot crossing, General Irwin had ordered the commander of the 10th Infantry, Col. Robert P. Bell, to force a second crossing of the Moselle approximately two and a half miles south of Dornot, near the village of Arnaville. (See Map II.) General Irwin took this step after having decided that the Dornot bridgehead was too rigidly contained to be exploited successfully. Already during late afternoon the 3d Battalion, 10th Infantry, had moved into defensive positions, relieving the 1st Battalion, 11th Infantry, astride the high ground west of the river in the vicinity of Arnaville. Assigning the 10th the mission of crossing the river and securing the high ground north of the village of Arry, General Irwin had set the date of crossing for 10 September but had left the exact hour and site to the discretion of the regimental commander.1
Early on 9 September Colonel Bell went forward with his reconnaissance party to Arnaville, a tiny village just west of the railroad track that paralleled the Moselle. Finding that the area had not been completely cleared of the enemy, the party divided into two patrols and made its way to the river. Parallel to the railroad track and the river the Americans came upon a deep canal, which could be expected to complicate later bridging operations. They found however, that infantry could cross at a lock in the canal. Although approximately 200 yards of open, marshy land extended between the canal and the river, at one place a tree-shaded trail provided concealment to the water's edge. The riverbank itself was suitable for launching assault boats. Detailed engineer reconnaissance could not be made until later, but it appeared that a suitable bridge site existed where a military bridge had been constructed and later destroyed by the French Army in the campaign of 1940. On the near bank the two hills flanking Arnaville on the north and south covered the Bayonville-Arnaville approach road and provided direct-fire positions for supporting the assault. Arnaville was approximately one mile south of the larger west-bank village of Novéant and approximately two and a half miles north of another west-bank village, Pagny-sur-Moselle, in the XII Corps zone.
Beyond the river was another stretch of some 500 yards of open, marshy flatland. A network of trails through it led
to Voisage Farm at the intersection of the Arry road with the Metz-Pont-à-Mousson highway. From the north-south Metz highway, the ground rose abruptly to dominating east-bank hills. To the reconnaissance party, two of these, Hill 386 in the Bois des Anneaux and the wooded Côte de Faye (Hills 325, 370, and 369) seemed to offer natural defensive positions and were later assigned as battalion objectives. On the maps used by the reconnaissance party, Hill 325 on the Côte de Faye appeared wooded. In reality it was a bare knob exposed to direct fire from Forts Sommy, St. Blaise, and Driant. Although Colonel Bell realized that the dominant terrain feature in the area was Hill 396, one thousand yards east of Hill 386, he felt that he could not expect his two assault battalions to take and hold this hill the first night. Also impressed with the consideration that up to this time no attempt to establish a bridgehead across the Moselle had succeeded, except the tentative foothold now held at Dornot, Colonel Bell recognized that the success of his regiment was mandatory and he did not want to assume more than he could accomplish.
Southeast of Voisage Farm on the steep slopes of the east-bank hills stood the village of Arry, and northwest of the Côte de Faye and beside the river, the village of Corny. Another factor of terrain which was to prove important was the convergence in the vicinity of the crossing site in the Moselle valley of two defiles from the west, at Arnaville and at Novéant, and a shallow draw leading from Voisage Farm to a saddle between Hills 369 and 386.
Returning about 1400 to his command post in Chambley, Colonel Bell issued his attack order to his regiment and its usual combat team elements: the 46th Field Artillery Battalion (105-mm. howitzers); Company B, 7th Engineer Combat Battalion; Company B, 818th Tank Destroyer Battalion (with one platoon of Reconnaissance Company, 818th, attached); Company B, 735th Tank Battalion; and Collecting Company B, 5th Medical Battalion. Also available to assist the river crossing by ferrying and bridging was the 1103d Engineer Combat Group, including the 551st Heavy Ponton Battalion, which was prepared to construct the bridge. Thirteen field artillery battalions were available to furnish supporting fire.2 Designating the hour of crossing as moonrise, 0055, 10 September, Colonel Bell ordered his 1st Battalion to lead the assault and capture Hill 386 in the Bois des Anneaux. The 2d Battalion was to follow at 0400 and capture the Côte de Faye (Hills 325, 370, and 369). The 3d Battalion was initially to hold its positions on the high ground in the vicinity of Arnaville, support the operations by fire as called for by the assault battalions, and protect the crossing site. Assault boats were to be manned at the outset by Company B, 7th Engineers, which was to be assisted in later ferrying operations by the 204th Engineer Combat Battalion of the 1103d Engineer Combat Group. Since Colonel Bell's attack plan depended upon surprise, the engineers were to make no preparations or further reconnaissance
before dark except to assemble sixty assault boats and crews in covered positions in the vicinity of Arnaville. The artillery plan, prepared with the advice of Lt. Col. James R. Johnson, 46th Field Artillery Battalion commander, called for no preparatory fires unless the crossing was detected. Although guns would lay on preparation fires across 1,200 yards of front beyond the river, the only officer who could call for them was the artillery liaison officer with the 1st Battalion, Capt. George S. Polich. Check concentrations on almost every possible point of difficulty were available on call by any officer. One platoon of both Cannon Company and Antitank Company was attached to each rifle battalion and was to cross by ferry or bridge, whichever was first available. Company B, 735th Tank Battalion, was ordered to cross as soon as the bridge could be completed, while Company B, 818th Tank Destroyer Battalion, was to move after dark to hull-down positions on the bare hills north and south of Arnaville, prepared to engage enemy tanks and vehicles beyond the river. An innovation in the Third Army was due for a test in support of the crossing: the 84th Chemical Smoke Generator Company was ordered to initiate at daylight a front-line large-area smoke screen around the crossing site as protection against German observation. This project would be a new combat experience for all concerned, including the chemical troops. The regimental command post was to be at Vandelainville, west of Bayonville.
The 1st Battalion commander was evacuated with yellow jaundice a short while before the attack order was given, and the executive officer, Maj. Wilfrid H. Haughey, Jr., assumed command. Issuing a warning order to his companies and directing them to a forward assembly area at Villecey-sur-Mad, near Waville, Major Haughey left with his S-3, company commanders, and artillery liaison officer to reconnoiter the crossing site. There he made his attack plans: the advance was to be made in column of companies, A, C, D, Battalion Headquarters, and B. Once across the river the same formation was to be followed, using two power-line clearings on the skyline as guides to the objective, Hill 386. Company A was then to swing left, eventually to tie in with the 2d Battalion, whose objective was the Côte de Faye, including Hill 369, to the north. Company C was to swing right, pushing out on the southern nose of Hill 386 in the direction of Arry. Company B was to dig in along the western edge of the woods on the rear slope of the hill, mop up any resistance bypassed, and guard the right flank and rear against any enemy countereffort from Arry. With each of the two assault companies was to be a platoon of heavy machine guns of Company D. The men were to carry with them a full canteen of water, all ammunition possible, and three units of K ration. A rear battalion command post was to be maintained initially in Arnaville.
When the battalion officers returned to Villecey about 1700, enough daylight hours remained to permit the platoon leaders to go to Bayonville, where they obtained a brief and distant view of the objective; but there was no time to give the noncommissioned officers or riflemen even that much of a reconnaissance. Although
ARRY. Road with gooseneck curve out of Arry in upper left of photograph leads to the Voisage Farm. The southwest slope of Hill 386 is visible in upper right.
most of the men of the 1st Battalion were veterans of one river crossing (the Seine), they were aware of the terrific pounding from artillery and counterattacks which the 11th Infantry's Dornot bridgehead was receiving and sensed that this crossing would prove more difficult than their crossing of the Seine.
Meanwhile, the commander of the 2d Battalion, Maj. William E. Simpson, had taken his company commanders and staff to the hill south of Arnaville, overlooking the crossing site, and had decided to launch his attack also in column of companies. After the scheduled crossing at 0400, Company F, in the lead, was to advance past Voisage Farm and move up the shallow draw between its objective and Hill 386. Then it was to turn left (north) and follow the ridge line of the Côte de Faye to take, in turn, Hills 369, 370, and 325. Following was to be Company G and then Company E, the latter assigned the mission of mopping up in the battalion's rear and on its left
flank. One machine gun platoon of Company H was to be attached to each of the two forward companies, and the 81-mm. mortar platoon was to follow Company G. An advanced command post was to accompany Major Simpson at the head of Company E.
The problem of getting adequate maps, the lack of which had plagued commanders since the start of the Metz campaign, was finally resolved, even as the 1st and 2d Battalion troops prepared to move toward the river. Photomaps on a 1:25,000 scale were received at 2300 the night of 9 September.3
The Assault Crossing
Met on the west bank of the Moselle Canal by guides from Company B, 7th Engineers, the leading squads of the 1st Battalion, those of Company A, crossed the canal footbridges and reached the crossing site at approximately 0035. The company having been previously divided into assault boat parties, there was one guide for each of twenty boats, numbered 1 through 20, which were supposed to be waiting with their assigned engineer crews. But the engineers were not yet ready, and it was 0115 before loading began. As the boats pushed out into the water, enemy outposts along the far bank fired a few scattered rounds from their rifles, but there were no casualties and no delay. On the far shore the company commander, Capt. Elias R. Vick, Jr., reorganized his men and by 0200 was ready to move toward the objective. In the meantime, the engineers returned to the west bank and began transporting men of Company C. By the time Company A had reorganized, two platoons of Company C were also across the river.
Company A's movement across the flat tableland toward the north-south Metz highway and Voisage Farm brought the enemy to life. (Map 2) Machine guns raked the bottom land and the crossing site, and mortars began to find the range. Although a red enemy signal flare went up, enemy artillery reaction was slow; it was not until daybreak that the first artillery concentrations began to fall. This delay was probably due to poor enemy communications--brought about by shortages in personnel and equipment--so poor that sometimes it took several hours for a message from troops in the Moselle valley to reach higher headquarters in Metz.4 The 2d and 3d Platoons of Company A deployed and advanced in the face of machine gun fire, still inaccurate, to the north-south highway. Here, more accurate fire from a machine gun at the Voisage Farm crossroads enfiladed the road and pinned the men to the ditches on either side. When 2d Lt. Karl Greenberg, 2d Platoon leader, made his way toward the crossroads to locate the enemy gun, he was fired upon and wounded. The company commander, Captain Vick, moving to the highway in an attempt to get his assault platoons in motion again, was hit by the machine gun fire. He died of wounds before he could be evacuated.
Crossing at Arnaville
10 September 1944
Back at the crossing site, darkness and enemy fire had brought confusion. Ready to cross with his two remaining platoons, the Company C commander, Capt. William B. Davis, could find engineer crews for only six of the twenty assault boats. While he was searching, the executive officer of Company D, 1st Lt. Francis L. Carr, took part of his men across, his own troops manning the boats. When the boats were returned to the west bank, Captain Davis followed Lieutenant Carr's example and manned the boats with his infantrymen. Once on the far shore, the officers attempted reorganization, but the enemy fire had prompted the men to crouch behind a six-foot protecting bank, and here Companies C and D became intermingled in the darkness. Before they could move out, Company B was also landed.
Finally succeeding in reorganization, Company C pushed forward and took cover alongside a stone wall that surrounded a small orchard at the northwest corner of the Voisage Farm crossroads. The 81-mm. mortars of Company D were set up in a sunken road along the river's edge. The battalion commander, Major Haughey, had crossed with Company C, and while Company B waited near the river Major Haughey and his S-2, 1st Lt. Leo E. Harris, advanced to the highway. Here they made contact with the Company A commander, 2d Lt. Warren G. Shaw, who had succeeded Captain Vick. With daylight fast approaching, Major Haughey was well aware that permitting his battalion to be caught under observation on the exposed flatland would be virtual suicide. Meanwhile, Company F, leading element of the 2d Battalion, already delayed in its crossing by the 1st Battalion's late start, had crossed the river and come up behind Company A. Its commander, Capt. Eugene M. Witt, was impatient to get off the tableland and onto his objective before daylight and wanted to push through Company A.
While Companies A and C were stalled, they returned the enemy fire, making good use of rifle grenades and 60-mm. mortars. The 1st Battalion artillery observer, 1st Lt. George Dutko, utilizing the previously registered check concentrations, secured 199 rounds of artillery fire, one concentration of which wiped out the crew of a 75-mm. antitank gun at a gooseneck curve in the Voisage Farm-Arry road.
Sending his S-2, Lieutenant Harris, to reconnoiter quickly for the most favorable route to Hill 386, Major Haughey readied Companies A and C for a combined assault designed to carry the battalion to its objective. When Lieutenant Harris found what he believed to be an avenue of approach, he delayed no longer. Assembling one near-by platoon each of Companies A and C, in the growing light he led a dash past Voisage Farm and up the hill. When the platoons jumped off, they met little fire of any sort, but the distance and ascent were too great to permit such a pace all the way to the crest. The men paused at the western edge of the woods to reorganize and were joined as they waited by the 2d Platoon of Company C.
Since the remainder of Company A had not moved, Captain Witt directed his Company F to pass through. Streaming through a gap in a low wall east of the road, the leading platoon under 1st Lt. Andrew H. Paulishen was stopped temporarily by two enemy machine guns. A barrage of hand grenades dispatched the enemy, and the advance continued.
Generally following the trail that led east up the Voisage Farm draw, Company F turned north upon coming abreast of Hill 369, its first objective. The remainder of Company A, having at last begun to move, had followed Company F, and then turned to the south through the woods to reach the crest of Hill 386.
To the southeast, on the reverse slope of Hill 386, Lieutenant Harris, with one platoon of Company A and two of Company C, completed reorganization and began moving again toward the crest. Although the men encountered a small German force, which they engaged with "marching fire and bayonets,"5 their advance to the crest was virtually unimpeded. At approximately the same time, S. Sgt. William J. Stone of Company D arrived at the crest from the north with a section of heavy machine guns. Having followed closely behind Company F until Company F turned north to Hill 369, the machine gun section had chased a small enemy force from the northern part of the crest. Immediately afterward the men began to dig in their weapons. Closely following them came 1st Lt. Robert B. Guy, also of Company D, and Lieutenant Dutko, the artillery observer, who began to reconnoiter for machine gun and mortar positions and observation posts. The remainder of Company C soon joined its two leading platoons and began to dig in on the exposed southern nose of the hill, overlooking Arry to the southwest. The remainder of Company A, greatly disorganized after the fight at the highway and the climb through the woods, went into position on the left near Sergeant Stone's machine guns, but no contact was made with the 2d Battalion defenses to the north. Company D's 81-mm. mortars were set up on the left rear.
Shortly before 0830, Company B, still coming up from the river bottom, had passed the Voisage Farm crossroads when its 3d Platoon, bringing up the rear, noticed a German tank approaching from the north along the Metz highway. Taking cover, their bazooka team ready to fire, the men of the platoon saw the tank advance to the crossroads and halt. Although the bazooka team attempted to fire, its rocket did not discharge. The tank commander opened his turret, however, and the 3d Platoon guide shot him in the shoulder. Buttoning up quickly, the tank fired two rounds over the heads of the platoon. Just at that moment an enemy artillery concentration fell near the crossroads, and the tank sped back toward Corny. Meanwhile, Company B's 1st Platoon, seeing a Mark V tank advancing from the outskirts of Arry, took cover in abandoned foxholes along the Arry road. The Mark V pulled back into the town without firing. The platoon, followed by the rest of the company, then continued up the slope of Hill 386. A short while later the men saw the Mark V tank return, run over the foxholes where the 1st Platoon had been hiding, and retreat once more into Arry. By 1000, Company B had taken positions
OBJECTIVES OF THE 2D BATTALION, 10th Infantry Regiment, in the Côte de Faye area. Large wooded area in the center is the Bois de Gaumont. Highway in foreground leads to Corny and Metz, on the left and to Pont-à-Mousson on the right. Moselle River can be seen in lower left corner.
from the right flank of Company C atop the southern crest of Hill 386 down the slope to an orchard not far from the edge of town. A patrol of one squad from the 3d Platoon, sent to investigate Arry, returned with the report that at least a platoon of German tanks and some infantry occupied the town.
The men of Company C had been assigned positions on the exposed southern nose of Hill 386. About 0830, in the midst of their efforts to dig into the rocky soil, a platoon of enemy infantry appeared to the right front, evidently having emerged from Arry. As the enemy platoon began to move in, Pfc. Wilbur H. Dodson, a light machine gunner on the right flank with the 1st Platoon, opened fire, accounting for most of the enemy before he himself was killed. Thus ended the first attempt by the Germans to recover the hilltop. It was only the first prick of the thorn which Arry was to become in the flesh of the bridgehead.6
The 2d Battalion Crossing
Although enemy mortar fire continued to fall around the crossing site after the 1st Battalion crossing, Company F, leading the 2d Battalion, had begun its move in assault boats at 0430, only slightly behind schedule. Its boats were manned by Company B, 204th Engineers. Closing up behind Company A where it was stalled along the Metz highway, Captain Witt, Company F commander, finally passed his company through just at daybreak. The unit moved up the Voisage Farm draw until it was opposite Hill 369 and then turned north toward its objectives. Three fourths of the way up the hill, Lieutenant Paulishen's lead platoon had a brief engagement with a small force of entrenched enemy infantry, but otherwise the movement was uncontested. Passing initially along the forward edge of the Bois de Gaumont on Hill 369 and then just east of a trail that marked the crest of the ridge line, the company advanced quickly to Hill 370 and continued north toward Hill 325. Finding Hill 325 to be a bare, exposed knob, Captain Witt halted his company, and the men began to dig in along the eastern and northwestern edges of the woods where they had unrestricted fields of fire against Hill 325.
Close behind the leading company came Company G, its movement uncontested. Its men began to dig in across the eastern and southeastern brow of Hill 370 under cover of the woods. The company's left flank was at a jagged clearing in the woods on the southern nose of Hill 370 and its right flank on the southern slope of Hill 369, the company front thus extending almost a thousand yards. Because the distance to be covered was so great, the men were forced to spread their foxholes thin; even the closest were more than ten yards apart.
When Company E came forward behind Company G, its 3d Platoon was moved into the gap caused by the jagged clearing between the two forward companies. Two squads of the 2d Platoon went through the woods to the left rear to check for enemy stragglers and then dug in to the left rear of Company F's left flank. The remainder of Company
E was held in reserve on the reverse slope of Hill 370. One platoon of heavy machine guns of Company H was emplaced with Company F's left flank on the northwest; another was with Company G's left flank at the jagged clearing. The 81-mm. mortars were set up within that part of the clearing which extended to the reverse slope of Hill 370. Major Simpson's battalion headquarters was also dug in on the hill's reverse slope in the woods.
Through the day, enemy action against the 2d Battalion was confined to scattered and occasional mortar and artillery fire until just at dusk a platoon of enemy tanks cruised across the bald crest of Hill 325, apparently in a reconnaissance move. Men of the 2d Battalion held their bazooka fire, although some opened up with small arms. When American artillery concentrations were called for and received, the enemy tanks withdrew.
Counterattack From Arry
While men of the 1st Battalion were still preparing their defensive positions in the rocky soil of Hill 386, at approximately 1230 shells from German tanks began to burst in the fir trees above Company C's command post at the southern edge of the woods. The command group was badly hit: the radio operator was killed and the company commander, Captain Davis, was wounded in both legs. Three Tiger tanks soon appeared on the bare southern slope of the hill from the direction of Arry. Followed soon by two other tanks, they moved diagonally across the front of Company C's right platoon (the 1st), firing as they went. The 1st Platoon's bazooka team opened fire but without success, its rockets seeming to bounce off the heavy armor. The tanks pushed on, closing to within a hundred yards of the foxhole line. Cruelly exposed in their shallow holes, the men were ordered by 1st Lt. Carl E. Hansen, 1st Platoon, and 1st Lt. Issac H. Storey, 2d Platoon, to fall back to the tree line. Once they reached the woods, tree bursts from the tank guns brought even heavier casualties and confusion, and many men continued down the rear slope. The wounded company commander, Captain Davis, remained in action, calling for artillery and mortar support to stop the tanks. He would not give up until he finally collapsed and was started back on a stretcher, only to be hit a second time by shell fragments and killed.
Although no enemy infantry were observed, the lead tank commander opened his turret and waved, as if to signal supporting infantry forward. An automatic rifle team shot the enemy tanker, and by this time supporting mortar and artillery fire was falling. If enemy infantrymen were scheduled to follow, they did not, despite the confusion in the ranks of Company C.
In the meantime two more German tanks emerged from Arry and advanced toward the Company B positions along the Arry-Voisage Farm road. About seventy-five rounds of shellfire caused heavy casualties in Company B's 3d Platoon and command group, and a break-through threatened. T. Sgt. Walter E. Jenski of Company B followed alongside one of the tanks on the road, firing rifle grenades at its treads. When that effort failed, he tossed a hand grenade at the turret. Despite his failure to knock out the tank, the tenacity of Company B's 1st and 2d Platoons
prompted the two tanks to pull back into Arry, and the break-through was averted.
Although Company C had suffered heavily and was disorganized, the German tanks on the hill pushed no farther forward, moving on instead across the front of the battalion where they faced Company A. The men of Company A were careful to take advantage of the concealment offered by the woods in their area, and the enemy tanks soon ceased fire, although still remaining just outside effective bazooka range in front of the positions. Meanwhile Company C tried to reorganize. Its executive officer, 1st Lt. Eugene N. Dille, having assumed command after the company commander's death, sent one squad back to the original positions to outpost them and observe for further action, a second squad to regain contact with Company B, and a third to guard the company command post. Then Lieutenant Dille searched the reverse slope for others of the company. Learning that many of the men had retreated all the way to Voisage Farm, he eventually succeeded in locating about eighty and sending them back to their former positions.
This reoccupation of the open slope prompted the German tankers to return to action, and again the infantry had little protection on the exposed nose of the hill. But, in almost movie-like tradition, American P-47's suddenly entered the battle. They bombed and strafed the tanks, dangerously close to the foxholes, but successfully. One bomb appeared to bounce as it hit the ground and skidded to within a few yards of a group of Company A men, but it did not explode. In the face of the planes, the German tanks at last withdrew.
The intervention by the P-47's, a part of the XIX Tactical Air Command, was the first positive response to numerous previous infantry requests for air support in the Moselle battle. Early on 9 September the Ninth Air Force had ruled that the XX Corps attack could be adequately supported by artillery. But that evening reports of a steadily worsening situation reached the G-3 air officer at 12th Army Group headquarters. He therefore had authorized the release of as many fighter-bombers from the primary target at Brest as the commander of the XIX TAC should deem necessary for adequate bridgehead support. Although the XIX TAC still had many responsibilities--bombing at Brest, attacking with the XII Corps at Nancy, protecting the Third Army's exposed southern flank, and flying cover for heavy bombers over Germany--P-47's were made available. The planes that arrived at such an opportune time at Arry were from the 406th Fighter Bomber Group and had been vectored from a ground support mission in the Nancy area. They claimed fifteen enemy tanks destroyed. Besides assisting the 1st Battalion to repel the tanks, the planes bombed and strafed the enemy assembly point of Arry, leaving much of the town in flames. The only other air support of the day in the local bridgehead area was that of the 23d Squadron, 36th Group, which bombed Forts Sommy and St. Blaise in the Dornot bridgehead area.
Reports of the seriousness of the tank counterattack against the 1st Battalion had reached the 10th Infantry commander, Colonel Bell, about 1335. Thereupon he ordered his 3d Battalion, still in position astride the west-bank hills flanking Arnaville, to leave Companies L and M in place and prepare to cross Companies
I and K in order to capture Arry. While these preparations took place, the 1st Battalion set about reorganizing its lines. The Company A executive officer, 1st Lt. William H. Hallowell, who had been on the west bank organizing supplies, was sent forward to take command of Company A, which Lieutenant Shaw had been commanding since the original company commander's death soon after the river crossing. Collecting some sixty Company A men from where they had taken cover on the reverse slope, Lieutenant Hallowell moved to his company's positions on the battalion's left and reorganized them. The 2d Platoon was placed on the right, the 1st Platoon in the center, and the 3d on the left flank, echeloned to the left rear to protect the battalion's left flank and the heavy machine guns and mortars of Company D. The battalion commander, Major Haughey, then ordered Company B to move from its right-flank positions facing Arry and take over the Company C sector. This time the area designated took advantage of the concealment of the woods. Company C was then assembled at the western edge of the woods on the reverse slope and prepared to follow the 3d Battalion into Arry after its capture. Its mission was to establish road blocks with a platoon of antitank guns which were to be ferried across the river after dark. Despite the havoc caused initially by the enemy's noon counterattack, the 1st Battalion had actually given up only the practically untenable positions on the bare southern nose of Hill 386.
The Germans launched no more counterattacks against Hill 386 during the afternoon, but shellfire and long-range machine gun fire harassed the men there for the rest of the day. A counterattack elsewhere was attempted soon after the 1st Battalion action when both tanks and infantry headed south from Corny, evidently in an effort to cut off the bridgehead at its base. With artillery observers and tank destroyer crewmen enjoying perfect observation from the west-bank hills, this enemy effort was doomed from the start. Company B, 818th Tank Destroyer Battalion, claimed one of the German tanks destroyed, and the others fell back on Corny.7
Through the first three days in the bridgehead battle, the supporting field artillery and tank destroyers received firing data from the forward companies through both forward observer and infantry radios that were in direct communication with a regimental set atop the regimental command post in a schoolhouse in Vandelainville. An operator at the regimental set relayed the information by telephone to the command post where the 46th Field Artillery Battalion commander, Colonel Johnson, was constantly on duty. The regimental commander felt that one slip in this communication system and a failure to get artillery fire at the precise moment needed would mean that his precarious bridgehead would be wiped out.8
In the Dornot bridgehead action, the Americans had experienced the initial good fortune of attacking on the boundary line between two German battalions. In the Arnaville action, that initial good
fortune had been even greater: the boundary between the German XIII SS Corps on the north and the XLVII Panzer Corps on the south ran just north of Voisage Farm. This line also divided the 282d Infantry Battalion, attached to Division Number 462, on the north and the 8th Panzer Grenadier Regiment, a unit of the 3d Panzer Grenadier Division, on the south. The infantry battalion was charged with the defense of the Côte de Faye and the panzer grenadiers with defense of Voisage Farm, Arry, and Hill 386. The counterattack against Hill 386 was launched by elements of the 8th Panzer Grenadier Regiment, supported by attached tanks.9
The 3d Battalion Attacks Arry
In accordance with Colonel Bell's order at 1335, his 3d Battalion commander, Maj. Alden P. Shipley, had left Companies L and M in defensive positions on the west-bank hills flanking Arnaville. Companies I and K moved to the river, crossing about 1735 at the same site as the other two battalions. The infantrymen took with them extra amounts of ammunition and extra bazookas and deposited them on the east bank to create a bridgehead stockpile.
With Company K on the left of the Voisage Farm-Arry road and Company I on the right, the advance moved past the former Company B positions facing the town and held up briefly on the outskirts while P-47's and artillery bombarded the objective. Then the rifle companies continued against virtually no resistance, ferreting the enemy from houses and cellars where he had sought cover from the bombardment. The Americans fired antitank grenades at three German tanks that were seen fleeing to the east toward Lorry, but the grenades bounced off and the tanks escaped. The town was cleared by 2130, and the regimental commander, Colonel Bell, ordered the companies to pull back to Voisage Farm: the 10th Infantry's lines were too extended and an open flank at Corny and a dangerous route of entry between Hills 369 and 386 necessitated a bridgehead reserve. Returning to Voisage Farm, the companies dug in, there to remain for several days, subjected to murderous enemy shelling.
Since Colonel Bell expected the 1st Battalion to hold Arry, and the 1st Battalion's plan was for Company C to establish road blocks within the town, either the withdrawal order was premature or Company C was late in moving in. In any event, it was 0300 when Company C headed into Arry. Advancing in column, led by the company commander, Lieutenant Dille, and the 3d Platoon leader, 1st Lt. Ralph R. Cuppeli, the depleted company marched down the main street. Lieutenant Dille saw two Germans approaching. Motioning for his men to hold their fire, he waited until the Germans came closer and then he himself fired, killing one. The other German quickly returned the fire, wounding Lieutenant Cuppeli and killing Lieutenant Dille.10 Although T. Sgt. Robert
M. Johnson killed the German before he could cause further casualties, it was obvious that the enemy had reoccupied the town after the 3d Battalion's departure.11
The wounded Lieutenant Cuppeli gave orders for his platoon to withdraw, and the entire company followed in a mad scramble to escape. Reaching the fields to the north, Lieutenant Storey, the 2d Platoon leader, managed to restore order. He took command of the company and moved it back to the northern edge of the village, where the men began digging in. At 0430 heavy artillery fire, presumed to be both American and German, blanketed the area. With his handful of men diminished even more, Lieutenant Storey wanted to withdraw. He finally established communication with his battalion commander, and the company was withdrawn about 0800 the next morning (11 September) to the vicinity of the 1st Battalion command post on the reverse slope of Hill 386. Here again the men came under intense enemy shelling and suffered further casualties. On Lieutenant Storey's request, the company was moved to defensive positions on the left flank of Company A on Hill 386; now the company's strength was only forty-three men.
The 1st Battalion's 57-mm. antitank guns and its attached platoon from Antitank Company, which were scheduled to be part of the road block defenses in Arry, were ferried across the river during the night, but already Companies I and K had withdrawn to Voisage Farm. Since the antitank guns could not be moved into Arry, they were hand-carried to positions on the right flank of Company B on the southwestern slope of Hill 386 where they could cover the town and the Arry-Voisage Farm road. The two remaining companies of the 3d Battalion (Companies L and M) and Major Shipley's 3d Battalion headquarters crossed the Moselle at approximately 1900. Battalion headquarters and the heavy weapons company moved to Voisage Farm to become a part of a bridgehead reserve even before Companies I and K withdrew from Arry to join them, and Company L went into a secondary defense covering the potentially dangerous Voisage Farm draw between the 1st and 2d Battalions. Another platoon of 57-mm. guns from Antitank Company went into position near the north flank of the bridgehead, covering Corny, and the 3d Battalion's antitank guns, ferried across during darkness, 11 September, were dug in just southeast of Voisage Farm to cover the road south to Arry.12
The 11th Infantry Enters the Arnaville Fight
About noon of 10 September, General Irwin, his plans already formulated for evacuating the 11th Infantry's Dornot bridgehead during the night, had ordered that the 3d Battalion, 11th Infantry, under Maj. William H. Birdsong, cross
the Moselle, capture Corny, and protect the north flank of the Arnaville bridgehead. The battalion was badly depleted: its Company K was already a part of the hard-pressed Dornot bridgehead and its Company I was heavily engaged supporting the Dornot crossing from the west bank. Even should the battalion wait to cross until after the scheduled nighttime evacuation of the Dornot bridgehead, Companies I and K would not be able to join the new crossing, so diminished and fatigued were they from the intensive Dornot fight. To strengthen the 3d Battalion, Company B of the 11th Infantry was attached.13
Since the original Arnaville crossing area was congested with the movement of the 3d Battalion, 10th Infantry, and the 10th's supporting units, Major Birdsong's battalion was ordered to reconnoiter for another crossing site near by. With his reconnaissance party the battalion commander crossed the Moselle Canal paralleling the river just southeast of Novéant on the debris of a demolished footbridge. Finding the terrain wooded between the canal and the river and informed by an attached engineer officer that he could construct a footbridge across the canal in time for the crossing, Major Birdsong chose this site. Because ferrying operations were to begin soon after dark at the original Arnaville site, arrangements were made with the 10th Infantry for transporting the battalion's antitank platoon, the attached 2d Platoon from Antitank Company, 11th Infantry, and radio and litter jeeps to the far shore. There they would join their parent battalion in the vicinity of Voisage Farm. Upon crossing, the 3d Battalion, 11th (less Companies I and K, plus Company B), was to be attached to the 10th Infantry. Crossing was scheduled for 0200 (11 September).
Construction of a footbridge across the canal took longer than anticipated, with the result that the 3d Battalion's leading company, Company L, was two hours late in getting started. The assault boats, manned by troops of the 160th Engineers, were finally pushed out into the darkness on the river, the men of Company L taking with them a telephone and laying wire as they went. With Company L presumably landed on the far shore, the engineers returned. Company B was loading when the Company L commander, Capt. Robert H. Williams, telephoned that his men had disembarked only to find that they had landed on an island in the river. Neither previous map nor ground reconnaissance had revealed the presence of this small, high-banked island, and aerial photographs had not been available. Since Captain Williams deemed the east bank beyond the island unfit for a landing, the assault boats had to be sent back to retrieve the company. In view of the short period of darkness remaining, Major Birdsong secured permission to cross his battalion at the 10th Infantry's Arnaville site.
While this mishap was taking place, the battalion's Antitank Platoon, radio and litter jeeps, and the attached 2d Platoon, Antitank Company, 11th Infantry, had been ferried across the river by the 10th Infantry at Arnaville. Although
the organic Antitank Platoon and radio and litter jeeps waited for their battalion near Voisage Farm, the platoon sergeant of the attached platoon, T. Sgt. Harry O. Chafin, deduced that the riflemen had already preceded him to Corny. Moving with its 57-mm. guns, the platoon pushed north up the Metz highway and, unsuspectingly, into German-held Corny. In the quick, violent fire fight that followed, most of the antitank platoon escaped, including eighteen men who swam the river; left behind were the antitank guns and eight men.14 Sergeant Chafin led the survivors back toward the Arnaville crossing site and this time located his battalion. He insisted upon returning to rescue his men and guns but collapsed as the battalion advanced toward Corny.
Not until after daylight, about 0825 (11 September), did the leading elements of the 3d Battalion, 11th Infantry, succeed in crossing at the Arnaville site. (Map 3) They immediately reorganized and pushed slowly north toward Corny, Company L on the right, Company B on the left, against occasional artillery and mortar fire. Company L advanced up the bush-covered northwestern slopes of the Côte de Faye (Hill 325) and began to dig in where the men could cover the open northwestern slopes and have at least visual contact with the 2d Battalion, 10th Infantry, to the southeast. Company B, breaking a thin crust of German ground defense south of Corny, advanced to the town's outer buildings. There it found one of the 57-mm. antitank guns, damaged beyond use, and took up positions in and around an old brick factory on the edge of town. By 1700 the Americans had captured forty prisoners. The Reconnaissance Platoon and the Ammunition and Pioneer Platoon established outposts on the northwestern slope of Hill 325 between Companies L and B, while the heavy weapons of Company D were distributed among the advance positions. In late afternoon Company C, 11th Infantry, was also attached to the 3d Battalion, crossed the river, and went into a reserve position on the slope near the highway to the left rear of Company L. The battalion's organic Antitank Platoon with its 57-mm. guns went into position echeloned in depth astride the highway south of Corny. Depth in antitank defense was considered essential because there was a logical avenue for tank attack not only down the Corny
11 September 1944
highway but also across the Côte de Faye and down the northern woods line of the Bois de Gaumont.
By nightfall the 3d Battalion was well dug in. Its original order to capture Corny was not followed, despite some objection from the 10th Infantry, after the battalion commander, Major Birdsong, discovered the dominant observation the Germans would have on defenses within the town. The Germans had also sown the town with mines and booby traps, further discouraging the 3d Battalion's entry.
Counterattacks Against the 10th Infantry--11 September
Having made probing attacks on 10 September which evidently determined the locations of the 1st and 2d Battalions, 10th Infantry, the Germans struck violently against both battalions just before daylight the next morning (11 September). The battles to hold against these counterblows assumed even more importance with knowledge that the Dornot bridgehead had now been withdrawn and the Arnaville bridgehead was the only footing the XX Corps possessed on the Moselle's east bank. On the right flank of the XII Corps a small foothold did exist at the tip of the Moselle tongue; and south of Nancy assault units of two divisions were forming for a predawn crossing attempt. But holding at Arnaville was vital, and at the time the Germans launched their counterattacks the infantry situation was made even more precarious because the supporting engineers had not yet been able to bridge the river. Of this handicap, the enemy, still holding dominant observation, was probably aware.
About 0500, at the first sign of light, a platoon of German tanks, followed by approximately a company of infantry (elements of the 115th Panzer Grenadier Regiment), came from the direction of the town of Vezon toward that portion of the 2d Battalion lines which rimmed the edge of the Bois de Gaumont along Hill 370. Without artillery preparation but firing their 88-mm. tank guns and machine guns as they advanced, the tanks attempted to pulverize the defenses of Company F. They then pulled off to Company F's right front to provide fire support while accompanying infantry closed in. With the defenders pinned to their positions by the supporting fire, the German infantry worked in close, and fighting raged at hand-grenade range. One enemy grenade knocked out a Company H machine gun on Company F's left flank. Forward elements of Company F began to fall back some fifty yards; but the enemy was apparently unaware of impending success, for the attack rolled around to the front of Company G, attempting to turn the corner of the woods into the jagged clearing. Here the Germans set up machine guns, and for a few minutes the situation looked almost hopeless; the Americans' difficulty with radio communication had prevented their receiving artillery support. Capt. Lewis R. Anderson, however, the Company G commander, managed to reach the corner of the woods and co-ordinated the fire of a near-by section of heavy machine guns, his riflemen, and the 81-mm. mortars. Their efforts broke the enemy attack. Communication with supporting artillery was finally established, and, as the enemy infantry withdrew, heavy concentrations fell on the German rear. The tanks too
were discouraged by this fire. Except for a small enemy infantry contingent that probed up the draw on Company G's right flank southeast of Hill 369, the counterattack was ended. The probing effort on the right flank was stopped when Company G's light machine guns annihilated a squad of the attackers.
With the counterattack broken, Company F mopped up small groups and individuals who had infiltrated around the left flank, and another platoon of Company E was sent forward to take position between Companies F and G. Although the line had held, the enemy counterattack had cost the 2d Battalion slightly over a hundred casualties, further stretching the battalion's overextended manpower.
At approximately the time of the counterattack against the 2d Battalion, elements of the 3d Panzer Grenadier and 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Divisions launched a two-pronged attack against the 1st Battalion, 10th Infantry, on Hill 386. On the 1st Battalion's left front, some 500 yards beyond Company A's forward foxholes, stood a group of barrack-type buildings which were not shown on the battalion's maps. The first day in these positions, Lieutenant Dutko, the forward artillery observer, had turned the fire of 240-mm. howitzers and eight-inch guns on the buildings, only to find that they concealed an underground radar station and underground barracks. All buildings except one were destroyed. From the ruins, as daylight came on 11 September, emerged an estimated company and a half of German infantry. With artillery support ready on call, Company A held its fire, allowing the Germans to come in close, out of the cover of occasional trees and into the company's effective lanes of fire. Some of the enemy had advanced to within twenty-five yards of the forward foxholes when Company A, its supporting artillery, and Sergeant Stone's machine guns of Company D opened fire. The attack was quickly broken; most of the Germans fell as casualties and fifteen were taken prisoner.
At the time that the infantry attack was discovered, a platoon of German tanks emerged from an orchard just east of Arry and advanced north toward the Company B positions on the southern portion of Hill 386. The oncoming tanks fired directly into the defenders' foxholes. Calls for artillery brought immediate results, and the American tank destroyers on the high ground west of the river also opened fire. With the Germans still threatening, the 57-mm. antitank guns in position with Company B opened fire, their first rounds knocking out one of the tanks. The antitank crewmen claimed another kill but admitted it might have resulted from artillery or tank destroyer fire. The remaining enemy tanks concentrated their fire against the 57-mm. guns, destroying one and, since the guns had not been dug in,15 making it impossible for the other crews to operate. But the tanks had been discouraged by the reaction and withdrew to cover among the houses in Arry. Later in the day, planes of the 512th Squadron of the XIX TAC descended again on Arry. Their bombing and strafing knocked out some ten German tanks and assault guns, thus probably making a major contribution to the fact that the Germans launched no further ground attacks against either the 1st or
the 2d Battalion during the remainder of 11 September.16
Supporting the Bridgehead
German artillery fire had first opened against the bridgehead at dawn on 10 September. During the afternoon of the next day it increased in tempo, and artillery observers estimated that forty fixed German batteries and numerous roving guns, ranging in caliber from 88-mm. to 150-mm., were firing on the Arnaville sector. Since the larger portion of the German batteries was in concrete fortifications, American counterbattery fire was not very effective. Despite the commanding heights held by the Germans, most of their fire against the crossing site was apparently unobserved, possibly because of an area smoke screen being maintained at Arnaville by the 84th Chemical Smoke Generator Company.17 In the forward areas the enemy fire was definitely observed and caused numerous infantry casualties, notwithstanding American efforts to provide overhead cover for foxholes and emplacements. Artillery observers felt that the Germans here demonstrated considerably more artillery skill than usual, and no ammunition shortage was indicated. Using single rounds of smoke or time fire to obtain a deflection correction, the enemy usually followed with five minutes of heavy fire for effect. Although no time fire for effect was noted, many shells burst in the trees.18
A sometimes alarming shortage in American artillery ammunition had developed. This shortage was chronic through all Third Army artillery units in early September, a result of the same logistical difficulties that had brought the gasoline drought. On 9 and 10 September XX Corps artillery units had fired a total of about 20,000 artillery rounds per day, eating heavily into their allotment. They were now forced to curtail drastically their counterbattery and harassing fire. Again, as at the time of the gasoline shortage, the soldier fighting for his life found it difficult to understand these logistical difficulties. Fortunately, air support was able to take over some of the artillery missions, 411 sorties by planes of the XIX TAC on 11 September being almost equally divided between the Brest and Moselle fronts. Only one mission directly affected the Arnaville bridgehead, that of P-47's of the 492d Squadron, 48th Fighter Bomber Group, which damaged a gun position 3,000 yards southeast of Metz and destroyed a dam on the Moselle just southeast of Ars-sur-Moselle.19 Despite the ammunition shortage, the thirteen field artillery battalions in position to support the Arnaville crossing fired, on 10 and 11 September, a total of 12,774 rounds, most of them in support of the bridgehead.20
Supply of the bridgehead during the first two days was handled primarily by
Service Company, 10th Infantry, the Ammunition and Pioneer Platoons of the battalions, and the Mine Platoon of the 10th Infantry's Antitank Company. The infantry claimed that these units had virtually replaced the engineers in the task of ferrying rafts and assault boats.21
On the first day of the Arnaville crossing, S. Sgt. James O'Connell, Company B, 10th Infantry, trying to find a place for his jeep to cross the Moselle Canal, met a local French girl. Pointing to a spot in the canal, she beckoned the sergeant to follow, raised her skirts, and waded into the water. The water was shallow, and the sergeant found that he could cross on what he described as a "submerged concrete bridge."22 In this manner kitchen trucks also crossed the canal and were ferried across the river late on 11 September, thus making at least one hot meal daily available to troops in the bridgehead after the first day. Although some supply and medical jeeps were ferried across, mud and steep slopes made their use impracticable east of the Metz highway, and vehicles operating on the flatlands were constantly exposed to observed enemy shelling. One platoon of Cannon Company, 10th Infantry, had originally been attached to each of the rifle battalions, but delay in ferrying operations had prompted the regimental commander to make other dispositions of the organic howitzers. All six guns were placed on the hill south of Arnaville where they continued to fire in support of the bridgehead infantry until the bridgehead was secured.
When the rifle companies clamored for more bazookas to assist in fighting enemy tanks, the 10th Infantry's Headquarters Company rounded up forty-nine additional rocket launchers and sent them into the bridgehead. Communications personnel laid eight telephone lines, exclusive of artillery lines, into the bridgehead during the first two days. Although at one time all eight lines were knocked out by enemy shelling, communications personnel continued to work under shellfire until communications were working smoothly again. All three of the 10th Infantry's battalion aid stations were set up in one of the few buildings in the bridgehead: the farmhouse at the Voisage Farm crossroads. Through incessant artillery fire on the flatlands leading to the river, casualties were evacuated by jeeps to the crossing site after having been carried by litter from the forward lines to the aid station, often by their infantry comrades.23
1. Unless otherwise noted this section is based on the following sources: Moselle River Crossing; Irwin Diary; Combat Interv 38 with unidentified engr offs; Tenth Infantry; Fifth Infantry Division; 10th Inf, 5th Div, 1103d Engr (C) Gp, AAR's and Unit Jnls; author's visit to area, Jun 49; Ltr, Col Bell to Hist Div, 5 Apr 50.
2. 5th Div Arty: 19th, 21st, 46th, and atchd 284th (the 50th and atchd 241st were in support of the 2d Inf to the north); Corps Arty: 695th and 558th (5th FA Gp; the 274th, also a part of the 5th FA Gp, was in support of the 2d Inf); 270th, 277th, and 739th (203d FA Gp); and 177th, 773d, and 943d (204th FA Gp); plus CCB, 7th Armd Div, Arty: 434th Armd FA Bn.
3. This section based on the following: Moselle River Crossing; Tenth Infantry; 10th Inf Unit Jnl, 9 Sep 44; Combat Interv 38 with Simpson, Capt John L. Lynch, arty ln off, and Capt John H. Lathrop, CO, Co E, 2d Bn, 10th Inf (hereafter cited as Combat Interv 38 with Simpson-Lynch-Lathrop); Interv with Lt Col William M. Breckinridge (formerly Ex Off, 10th Inf), 30 Mar 50; and Ltr, Col Bell to Hist Div.
4. MS # B-042 (Krause).
5. Although the term "marching fire and bayonets" became an ETO bromide and each instance of its use must be examined skeptically, the anonymous author of Tenth Infantry notes it in this instance and is supported by Colonel Breckinridge. See Interv with Breckinridge. See also A Combat Narrative--Crossing of the Moselle River by the Tenth Infantry Regiment of the 5th Infantry Division (hereafter cited as 10th Infantry Combat Narrative), copy in OCMH files through courtesy of Lt Col Alden P. Shipley (formerly CO, 3d Bn, 10th Inf). Neither Colonel Shipley nor Maj. Stanley Hays (formerly Executive Officer, 3d Battalion, 10th Infantry) believes that bayonets were used. Interv with Shipley and Hays, 26 Apr 50.
6. Both this section and the section following are based on the following sources: Moselle River Crossing; Tenth Infantry; 10th Inf AAR, Sep 44; 10th Inf Unit Jnl, 9-10 Sep 44 (from which most times of action were determined); Combat Interv 38 with Simpson-Lynch-Lathrop; Interv with Breckinridge.
7. This section based on the following sources: Moselle River Crossing; Tenth Infantry; 10th Inf, 818th TD Bn, 46th FA Bn, AAR's, Sep 44; 10th Inf Unit Jnl, 10 Sep 44; Fifth Infantry Division; Cole, The Lorraine Campaign, Ch. III, p. 143, citing Ninth AF Opns Jnl, 9 Sep 44; XIX TAC Opns File, 10 Sep 44.
8. Ltr, Col Bell to Hist Div.
9. Morning Sit Rpt, Army Group G, 11 Sep 44, found in Army Group G KTB 2, Anlagen 1.IX.-30.IX.44; MS # B-042 (Krause); MS # B-412 (Einem). Colonel Kurt von Einem was chief of staff of XIII SS Corps. The exact location of the boundary is not definite, but this deduction is based on prisoner of war information in 5th Division Unit Journal File, 10-11 September 1944, and a captured German map reproduced in Tenth Infantry.
10. This account of Lieutenant Dille's death is taken from Moselle River Crossing which is based on contemporary interview information. It is supported by Interv with Hays, 26 Apr 50, but is contrary to the account in Tenth Infantry and to Interv with Breckinridge.
11. The 3d Panzer Grenadier Division claimed to have "recaptured" Arry at 0200. Morning Sit Rpt, Army Group G, 11 Sep 44, found in Army Group G KTB 2, Anlagen 1.IX.-30.IX.44.
12. This section based on the following: Moselle River Crossing; Tenth Infantry; Fifth Infantry Division; 10th Inf AAR, Sep 44; 10th Inf Unit Jnl, 10-11 Sep 44; Combat Interv 38 with Shipley, Capt John J. McCluskey, Co K, Capt Frank L. Bradley, Co M, and Capt Dale W. Baughman, arty ln off, 3d Bn, 10th Inf (hereafter cited as Combat Interv 38 with Shipley-McCluskey-Bradley-Baughman); Ltr, Col Bell to Hist Div; Ltr. Col Shipley to Hist Div, 15 Mar 50; Interv with Shipley and Hays.
13. 3d Bn, 11th Inf, story is from the following: Moselle River Crossing; 10th Inf, 11th Inf, 1103d Engr (C) Gp, 160th Engr (C) Bn, AAR's, Sep 44; 10th Inf and 11th Inf Unit Jnls, 10-11 Sep 44; Tenth Infantry; Combat Interv 38 with Birdsong; Interv with Breckinridge; Ltr, Col Birdsong to Hist Div; Interv with Coghill; Ltr, 1st Lt Rocco J. Barbuto (formerly plat ldr, AT Co, 11th Inf) to Hist Div, 3 May 50, and atchd statement from Cpl Emidio Di Pietro (2d Plat, AT Co, 11th Inf).
14. As told by Corporal Di Pietro, in a statement attached to Lieutenant Barbuto's letter to the Historical Division (note 13 above), the platoon neared Corny and took cover while Sergeant Chafin moved forward to reconnoiter. He returned shortly and directed the platoon to continue on the highway toward Corny. Arriving in the south edge of Corny, the men took cover in a brick foundry and a garage on opposite sides of the street. When "things did not look good," Sergeant Chafin ordered the men to withdraw, bringing with them the 57-mm. guns and prime movers. As the men loaded, "hell broke loose." Because much of the enemy fire seemed to come from a near-by house, the men put one gun into action and fired several rounds into the house. For a while the enemy was silent, and again the men attempted to load on their carriers. But again the enemy opened fire. Seeing that the situation was hopeless, Sergeant Chafin ordered his men to abandon guns and trucks and head for the river. Corporal Di Pietro ran through the garage, out a back door, and slid down an embankment. Working his way south under concealment of bushes, he encountered five other men of the platoon. When the Germans began to encircle them and to toss concussion grenades down the embankment upon them, Corporal Di Pietro was wounded in the right leg above the knee. Soon thereafter the six were forced to surrender and with two other men also captured were headed toward the enemy rear. One of his companions was forced to carry the corporal on his back. While the seven others went on to prison camps, Corporal Di Pietro was taken to a front-line German hospital, where his right leg was amputated.
15. 46th FA Bn AAR, Sep 44.
16. This section based on the following: Moselle River Crossing; Tenth Infantry; 10th Inf, 46th FA Bn, AAR's, Sep 44; 10th Inf Unit Jnl, 11 Sep 44; Combat Interv 38 with Simpson-Lynch-Lathrop and Shipley-Bradley-McCluskey-Baughman; Cole, The Lorraine Campaign, Ch. III, p. 149, citing XIX TAC Morning Summary, 12 Sep 44; IPW Rpt, 10th Inf Unit Jnl File, 11 Sep 44.
17. For details of smoke operations see below, Chapter III.
18. 46th FA Bn AAR, Sep 44.
19. XIX TAC Opns File, 11 Sep 44, and Cole, The Lorraine Campaign, Ch. III, p. 149, citing XIX TAC Morning Summary, 12 Nov 44. For more information on the Moselle dam see below, Ch. III, section entitled "Armor Crosses at the Ford."
20. Combat Interv 38, Artillery on the Arnaville Crossing (hereafter cited as Arnaville Artillery).
21. Ltr, Col Bell to Hist Div; Tenth Infantry; Interv with Breckinridge. For details on bridging operations see below, Ch. III.
22. Ltr, Col Bell to Hist Div.
23. Tenth Infantry; Ltr, Col Bell to Hist Div; Capt Ferris A. Kercher, Personal Experience of a Cannon Company Commander, MS for Advanced Officers' Class I, The Infantry School, copy filed in OCMH.