On October 15, command of the 90th passed from McLain to his replacement, Maj. Gen. James Van Fleet, who pushed the 357th to complete its mission. Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force General Dwight D. Eisenhower and his staff envisioned for fall 1944 a two-pronged offensive to capture the Ruhr and Saar industrial regions that fed the Third Reich’s belly. That evening, the last supply train arrived in Metz from the east. Another unit, the veteran 553rd Volksgrenadier Division, was sent south to join the Ninteenth Army. Maj. Gen. Wade Haislip’s XV Corps was reassigned to Lt. Gen. Jacob Devers’s Sixth Army Group, which lay to the Third Army’s south, while the 7th Armored Division was transferred from Walker to Lt. Gen. William Simpson’s Ninth Army. Lieutenant General George Patton’s Third Army had come a long way since it was activated on August 1 in Normandy. Patton’s army had 250,000 men, while the First Army had about 86,000. Loud grumbling from Patton could do nothing to change the situation. In return, Patton was promised three new divisions between mid-October and the first week of November. In defense of Metz, German forces had set up several forts that are about 3 km away from the center of Metz. At that time, the Wehrmacht did not consider it an important location and the city's defenses were reduced with many guns and equipment removed. The fighting fizzled out when German Führer Adolf Hitler transferred Manteuffel’s Fifth Army north at the end of the month to counter the Allies’ moves against the West Wall, as well as part of preparations for a planned winter attack through the Ardennes. Two days later, Task Force Bacon had reached the northern outskirts of the city and began battering into submission the enemy garrison at Fort St. Julien using the 150mm self-propelled artillery accompanying the task force. There have been countless thousands of published works devoted to all or of it. The Battle of Fort Driant was a constituent battle in the 1944 Battle of Metz, during the Lorraine Campaign and the greater Siegfried Line Campaign.The battle was on occupied French territory between the liberation forces of the United States Third Army under the command of General George S. Patton and the occupation forces of Nazi Germany under General Otto von Knobelsdorff. Because they had more experience with fortress fighting, Walker made a last-minute decision to entrust Irwin’s troops, rather than Twaddle’s, with the capture of the city. Strong German resistance resulted in heavy casualties for both sides. The main German force responsible for holding Metz was Knobelsdorff’s First Army, which belonged to General der Panzertruppen Hermann Balck’s Army Group G; Balck kept a close hand in the First Army’s operations. Metz was required to follow this order by early September, since the U.S. Third Army led by General George S. Patton had reached Verdun and was posing a threat to the Sarre region of Germany. After days of heavy fighting, during which American losses mounted, Patton reluctantly issued orders for the troops to break off the fight. 95th INFANTRY DIVISION - Victory. Shivering in the dark, dank woods, the GIs were halted frequently by fire from German pillboxes and machine-gun nests. On November 19, the two pincers converging behind Metz as part of Patton’s double envelopment finally met up at Pont Marais about 10 miles west of the city, not far from Boulay-Moselle, the point originally designated for the rendezvous. To prevent this, he planned to establish a new battle line farther east once the situation in Metz became dire. While Eddy’s XII Corps units had firmly established themselves to a depth of 15 to 20 miles on the east bank of the Moselle, the one division of Maj. Gen. Walton Walker’s XX Corps that had managed to cross the Moselle just south of Metz in September remained in a precarious position. A chilling situation report written October 4 by Captain Jack Gerrie from his position at the deepest penetration of the fort was carried by messenger back to his superiors: “The situation is critical. German half-tracks whirled through the streets of the two towns spraying American positions with machine-gun and small-arms fire until American long-range artillery on the west bank and reinforcements compelled them to break off the attack. This battle marked the first use of the terms "D-Day" and "H-Hour" by the Americans.. [2] The heavily fortified city of Metz was captured by U.S. forces before the end of November 1944, and the battle ended in victory for the U.S. … To remedy the situation, Balck shifted Generalleutnant Edgar Feuchtinger’s 21st Panzer and General Major August Wellm’s 36th Volksgrenadier Division from other sectors of Army Group G to plug the gap. But there’s NEVER been anything like THIS before. At the end of September 1944 fuel wasn’t the only commodity in short supply for the Third Army. Fortress Metz: The 3rd Army’s Toughest Battle August 26, 2014 August 31, 2014 / firefightinirish In the fall of 1944, after the Normandy break out, a three-month long struggle was fought during World War II around the fortress city of Metz, France. In the following two weeks, the U.S. forces limited themselves to small scale attacks and patrolling in the Metz area. Van Fleet’s 90th Infantry Division was under orders to cross the Moselle 23 miles north of Metz and begin a wide envelopment of the city from the north. Metz as a preliminary move to enhance the continued attack eastward of the US Third Army. Behind them, two armored divisions waited to assume the lead once bridgeheads were established over the Seille River. By this time, the U.S. command had decided to attack Metz from its rear, coming from the east. On October 14, Patton and his corps commanders began to draft the Third Army’s plan of attack. [5] By the end of August 1944, German forces in Lorraine had managed to reestablish a defensive line and the U.S. Third Army had come to a halt in face of the German defenses, resulting in a brief pause of operations in this area of the western front. [2] The city was captured by U.S. … They entered the city of Metz on November 18, and on November 21, Kittel was wounded and subsequently captured by U.S. forces. American soldiers in the Battle of Metz from the 95th Infantry Division earned the nickname “Iron Men of Metz” because of their bravery. Bradley arranged for Patton to receive three fresh, untested divisions for the upcoming offensive. Metz is a heavily fortified city, located between the rivers Moselle and Seille. A couple more barrages and a counterattack and we are sunk. This is Part Two of a Three Part look at Patton’s Lorraine Campaign. After a partial clearing on the first day of the offensive, the temperature in southern Lorraine dropped precipitously on the second day of the assault. While Wood’s combat commands fought the Germans along the roadways, the infantry had the unpleasant task of clearing them acre by acre from vast tracts of forest. Third Army[1] faced heavy resistance from the defending German forces, and resulted in heavy casualties for both sides. Still, lessons learned in fortress fighting would be applied the following month. Recognizing the strategic and political importance of the city, Aeizure by US forces was strongly contested by elements of the German First Army. The following day no additional progress was made, and the attack was broken off. In another attack, the US forces captured a small bridgehead across the Moselle to the south of Metz. Back in September, and going by faulty intelligence indicating that the fort was thinly held, Colonel Charles Yuill, commanding the 5th Division’s 11th Infantry Regiment, drafted a plan of attack that, although opposed by Irwin, nevertheless received a stamp of approval from Walker and Patton. When it became clear to Bradley that Hodges would not be ready to attack in that time frame, Bradley turned to Patton. To support the troops in case of a German armored attack, engineers constructed a special raft in which they were able to ferry across several 57mm antitank guns. Patton, who craved fast-moving offensives, was frustrated by the inertia that had been imposed upon his army at Metz because of enemy resistance and the lack of fuel. The terrain through which the XII Corps would attack favored the Germans. “We wanted to get them underground while we stayed on top and then blast them from one part of the fort to another.”. Following the breakout from Normandy in late July, Patton’s army had swept 400 miles in one month’s time all across central France to the Lorraine region, where it was met by General der Panzertruppen Otto Knobelsdorff’s First Army, which was determined to defend the Moselle line. While the 2nd Regiment was engaged with the enemy along the Nied-Française, Irwin’s other two regiments spent several days clearing the enemy from various forts and other fortified positions south of the city. Casualties and losses; 15,799 4,421 killed or dead of wounds 10,411 wounded 967 missing 2,736 horses: 17,007 1,367 killed 10,120 wounded 5,472 missing But by December 8, the garrisons at Forts St. Quentin, Plappeville, and Driant had all surrendered, and on December 13 the last stronghold, Fort Jeanne d’Arc, also surrendered to the Americans. Continuous rains the following two days led Patton to postpone the attack, but he resolved on November 7 that the attack would go forward the following day whether or not the rain stopped, and his staff issued orders to Eddy’s XII Corps to prepare to attack the following morning. The road was now open for the 90th Division’s eastward drive. By the end of November, only four forts––the very ones that Kittel had chosen to strengthen when he assumed command––were still occupied by German forces. On the night of October 12, the last of the troops were withdrawn from around Fort Driant. In the center of the city, the Germans transformed the sturdy Hotel de Ville (city hall) into a miniature fortress impervious to light anti-tank weapons. Casualties. Irwin’s objective was to drive 10 miles to the Nied-Française River and seize the high ground southwest of Metz. The lists are first arranged by state, territory, overseas possession, or foreign country. The November Battle for Metz (Concluded) The Enemy Situation in the Metz Area 1. The 357th, which followed after the bridgehead was secured, was under orders to push south along a forested ridge, clearing the enemy from 19 lightly defended Maginot forts. Another of Wiethersheim’s Kampfgruppen, comprising 10 Panther tanks and a battalion of panzergrenadiers, trapped a battalion from Paul’s 104th Infantry Regiment in the town of Rodalbe on the Dieuze plateau on November 12. Within each state they are arranged by the following categories: • Combat dead • Missing • Wounded McBride’s initial objective on the left flank was to clear the Germans from the Delme Ridge and then support Grow’s 6th Armored in its push to the important crossroads of Faulquemont, situated 20 miles away. On the morning of September 27, P-47 Thunderbolts swooped low over the fort and dropped 1,000-pound bombs and napalm canisters on the trenches at the base of the fort and on the structure itself. It took place at the city of Metz following the Allied breakout after the Normandy landings. The lists do not include casualties that occurred as a result of disease, homicide, or suicide. Indeed, what happened to Patton’s 3rd Army at Metz has been glossed over and I don’t recall it being described at all in the 1970 movie that bears his name. Until Driant’s five batteries were silenced, it would be impossible for Patton’s infantry to move up the Moselle River along the east bank and attack the city itself. Armoured cavalry elements of the United States XX Corps, while on a reconnaissance operation in the direction of the Moselle, made contact with elements from the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division on 6 September 1944. A powerful current swept a few of the boats off their course, but the majority made it across without incident. Königsmacker’s 300-strong garrison from the 19th Volksgrenadier Division was quartered in underground bunkers from which they operated a battery of four 100mm guns encased in steel turrets. General Courtney Hodges’s First Army and General Allen Simpson’s Ninth Army would lead the primary attack against the larger Ruhr in the north, while in the south General George Patton’s Third Army would strike at the smaller Saar. 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