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1944 - Forêt de Parroy - Blâmont

Deux extraits de Riviera to the Rhine (notes renumérotées)


The Forest of Parroy

Well before the XII Corps entered Luneville on 16 September, the Fifth Panzer Army had established bases and depots deep in the Forest of Parroy, using its cover as an assembly area for troops and armor mounting counterattacks against the Third Army's right flank. Subsequently, the forest had served the same purpose during German attempts to recapture Luneville, and German artillery hidden in the forest had continued to harass XV Corps' positions and lines of communication in the Luneville area. Von Luettwitz knew he would have to make a stand in the forest, not only to hold back American progress toward the Weststellung and the Saverne Gap, but also to protect the southern flank of the LVIII Panzer Corps as the latter continued its armored counterattacks in the sector north of the Rhine-Marne Canal.
Roughly ovoid in shape, the Forest of Parroy extends about six miles west to east and over four miles north to south, covering an area of nearly thirty square miles {Map 18). Much of the forest area is flat, but thickly wooded with mostly secondary growth of hardwoods, a few stands of older, bigger timber, and an occasional patch of conifers. Unlike most European forests, the Parroy was also characterized by a thick undergrowth that drastically limited observation and visibility. One third-class east-west route, the Haut de la Fait Road, passed through the center of the forest where it bisected the equally poor north-south Bossupre Road. In addition, the forest was crisscrossed with fire lanes, logging tracks, and beds of abandoned narrow-gauge railroads of World War I vintage, most of which could accommodate armored vehicles, but on a strictly one-way basis. Other features included deteriorated trenches and minor defensive installations dating back to World War I.

To these the defenders had added mines, barbed wire, road and trail blocks, new trenches, and timber-roofed dugouts; while the poor September weather produced cold and often torrential rains, fog and mist, mud, and swampy spots - all of which made the Forest of Parroy an unpleasant place in which to travel, let alone fight a pitched battle.
In the fluid combat conditions that had existed earlier in September 1944, the bulk of XV Corps might well have bypassed the Forest of Parroy, leaving follow-up forces to surround, isolate, and clear any Germans that remained. But with the limits imposed on offensive operations. General Patton decided to secure the area by force in order to acquire better positions for subsequent XV Corps attacks. If undisturbed, German infantry, artillery, and armor in the forest could control the main highway (N-4) leading to Sarrebourg and the Saverne Gap, severely hampering a rapid advance eastward.
General Wyche, with Haislip's approval, had originally planned a frontal attack from the west combined with a single envelopment on the east side of the forest. After meeting little German opposition in the Mondon forest, the two commanders expected the same here, hoping that the 106th Cavalry Group and one infantry regiment of the 79th Division could sweep through the forest, while an armored task force of the French 2d Armored Division struck northeast across the Vezouse River to isolate the woods on the east. The operation was to begin on 25 September after heavy Allied air strikes.

From the start, little went according to plan. Poor flying weather forced postponement of the air strikes, and Wyche was unable to start his attack until the 25th. In the interim, Leclerc had sent a small force over the Vezouse, but German artillery fire broke up the French infantry formations and the soggy ground confined the French armor to the roads, leading Leclerc to pull his units south, back across the river, before the 79th Division had even begun its assault into the forest.
Continued inclement weather caused Wyche to postpone air and ground attacks on the 26th and 27th, and finally Haislip decided to relieve Leclerc's division of its part of the operation and leave the entire task to Wyche. Meanwhile, American patrols into the forest had discovered that the Germans were preparing to defend the woods in strength. Accordingly, Wyche revised his plans, deciding to send two infantry regiments into the forest from the west while the cavalry group screened the area to the north along the Rhine-Marne Canal. Abandoning the whole concept of isolating the forest on the east, both Haislip and Wyche probably felt that a less complex approach - concentrating their superior artillery and infantry resources in one sector - was the best solution considering the terrain and weather.
The American attack into the Parroy forest finally began on 28 September, one day before the XV Corps was to pass to 6th Army Group control. The air attack began at 1400 followed by the ground assault of the 313th and 315th Infantry at 1630 that afternoon. However, of the 288 bombers and fighter-bombers scheduled to participate in the preparatory strikes, only 37 actually arrived, again because of poor flying conditions; and the results of the 37-plane attack against a target covering some thirty square miles were negligible. In addition, the two-hour interval between the last air strikes and the beginning of the 79th Division's ground attack gave the Germans ample time to recover from whatever shock effect the limited bombardment may have had. As a result the 79th Division infantrymen found themselves locked in a bitter struggle with the German defenders as soon as they began to penetrate the forest.
Even as the 79th Division began its attack, General Balck was again reassessing the situation in the area. North of the Rhine-Marne Canal the LVIII Panzer Corps' counterattacks had ground to a halt with more heavy losses in German armor and infantry. With no reinforcements, Balck instructed the Fifth Panzer Army to go on the defensive all across its front. To protect the Saverne Gap, he regarded both the Forest of Parroy and the Rambervillers sector as critical. Believing the latter to be more vulnerable, however, he instructed von Manteuffel and Wiese on the 29th to give defensive priority to the Rambervillers area, where the French 2d Armored Division and the VI Corps' 45th Infantry Division threatened the boundary between the two armies. To assist von Manteuffel in this task, he moved the boundary of the Fifth Panzer Army eleven miles south of Rambervillers, making the XLVII Panzer Corps responsible for the area. Von Manteuffel, in turn, moved his internal corps boundary south, allowing the LVIII Panzer Corps, under Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger, to direct the defense of the Parroy forest, while the XLVII Panzer Corps concentrated its efforts in the Rambervillers-Baccarat region.
Simultaneously Balck and von Manteuffel reorganized the Fifth Panzer Army in order to simplify command and control problems, consolidating battered units and strengthening existing divisions. In the process, the 11th Panzer Division absorbed what was left of the 111th Panzer Brigade; the 21st Panzer Division took over the 112th Panzer Brigade (less a battalion of the 112th Panzer Grenadier Regiment, which went to the 16th Infantry Division); and the hard-hit 113th Panzer Brigade was incorporated into the 13th Panzer Grenadier Division. This left Army Group G with only one panzer brigade in reserve, the 106th, which had not yet arrived from the First Army 's area, and Balck and von Manteuffel made tentative plans to commit this brigade in the Rambervillers area.
Balck ended the month of September by admonishing his three army commanders not to surrender any ground "voluntarily." Every penetration of the forward lines was to be restored by an immediate counterattack.
Too often, Balck informed them, reserve forces had been frittered away by premature commitments to weak points and to sections of the front only presumably threatened. In the future, all withdrawals would need his personal approval and would only be authorized if they improved current defensive positions. The Hitler order still stood - to hold west of the Weststellung in order to allow completion and garrisoning of fortifications there. The defense of the Parroy forest would represent the first test of Balck's orders.

The Forest and the Fight

During these deliberations the U.S. 79th Division and the German 15th Panzer Grenadier Division had been battling throughout the western section of the Parroy forest. The 79th had attacked from the west with two regiments abreast - the 315th Infantry north of the Fait Road and the 313th Infantry to the south. Both regiments made painfully slow progress against determined German resistance, and, by evening on the 30th, the attacking infantry had penetrated scarcely over a mile into the dense forest. During this period the fighting quickly fell into a pattern that continued throughout the battle. Abandoning any attempt at a linear defense, the Germans maintained a thin screening line opposite the Allied advance and concentrated their troops at various strongpoints. By day, German forward artillery observers, hidden in prepared positions, called down predetermined artillery or mortar barrages on advancing American troops; and the concentrations were often followed by small infantry-armored counterattacks moving at an oblique angle down one of the firebreaks or dirt tracks. During the night, smaller German infantry patrols attempted to infiltrate the flanks and rear of the attacking American forces, disorganizing them and interfering with resupply efforts. Often when one American unit was forced back, the others stopped their forward progress to avoid exposing their flanks to further German attacks. Poor visibility in the forest compounded American command and control problems, and the frequent German counterattacks put the attackers on the defensive much of the time. Again and again disorganized American units were forced to fall back, reorganize, and launch counterattacks of their own to regain lost ground.
On 1 October both sides sent reinforcements into the battle. The LVIII Panzer Corps deployed two battalions of the 113th Panzer Grenadier Regiment, 113th Panzer Brigade, into the forest accompanied by additional armor. On the American side, Wyche sent his third infantry regiment, the 314th, into the fray. The division commander wanted the 314th Infantry to move into the forest from the south, just east of the main penetration, and push against the flank of the defenders facing the 313th Infantry, allowing that regiment to drop back in a reserve role.
Although well executed, the maneuver did not seem to shake loose the German defenses. The 79th Division's progress remained painfully slow and it was not until 3 October that the last battalion of the 313th Infantry was relieved. On the same day the Germans once again reinforced their troops in the forest, this time with the 2d Battalion of the 104th Panzer Grenadier Regiment, 15th Panzer Grenadier Division, and a few more tanks and self-propelled guns. Wyche, meanwhile, with Haislip's approval, shortened the front line of the 315th Infantry by making the 106th Cavalry Group responsible for the northern part of the American advance and allowing the 315th to concentrate its forces just above the Fait Road. Between 4 and 6 October, American infantry units renewed their attacks, pushing eastward through the middle of the forest and overrunning several German strongpoints near the juncture of the Fait and Bossupre roads. The Germans then counterattacked with the understrength 11th Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion (from the 11th Panzer Division), forcing elements of the 315th Infantry back from the crossroads. But elsewhere the Americans held their ground. Temporarily exhausted, both sides spent 7 and 8 October patrolling, reorganizing, and resupplying their forces and, in the American camp, preparing to resume the offensive on the morning of the 9th.
The new attack began with a diversionary demonstration at daybreak by the 1st Battalion, 313th Infantry, reinforced with tanks, south of the forest. Evidently, the ruse met with some success, for the Germans shelled the roads along the Vezouse throughout the morning and provided little direct fire support to their troops in the Parroy forest. There XV Corps and 79th Division artillery laid down the heaviest preparatory barrage of the entire operation, clearing the way for the main attack which began at 0650, with ample artillery support on call. Initially two battalions of the 315th Infantry drove eastward north of the Fait Road, while the 3d Battalion, 315th Infantry, and the 2d Battalion, 314th Infantry, concentrated against the German strongpoint at the central crossroads, finally overrunning that position about 1800. Meanwhile, two battalions of the 313th Infantry moved into the line south of the 2d Battalion, 314th Infantry, and pushed eastward south of the crossroads; still farther south the rest of the 314th Infantry aggressively patrolled through the southern third of the forest. At dusk the 79th Division's center had advanced only a mile and a half beyond the central crossroads, but the infantry commanders hopefully noted that German resistance was beginning to diminish.
During the evening of 9 October Krueger outlined the status of his forces to von Manteuffel and reported that he was unable to restore the situation with the forces available. The loss of the interior roads and the central strongpoints made further defensive efforts costly, especially if the Americans began to threaten the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division's routes of withdrawal. The only uncommitted forces were two battalions (with an aggregate strength of about 550 troops) of the division's 115th Panzer Grenadier Regiment and two fortress battalions (1), but using these units would deprive the defenders of their last reserves and leave no maneuver units for operations east of the forest. Accordingly, the LVIII Panzer Corps commander requested permission to withdraw from the Parroy forest to a new defensive line, and the Fifth Panzer Army and Army Group G had no choice but to approve the request.
Except for some rear-guard detachments, the main body of German troops in the forest withdrew during the night of 9-10 October to a new defensive line several miles east of the woods, tying in with the XLVII Panzer Corps' 21st Panzer Division at Domjevin, with the intercorps boundary later moving a few miles south to Ogeviller. German losses during the fight for the Forest of Parroy, 28 September through 9 October, numbered approximately 125 men killed, 350 wounded, over 700 missing (most of them taken prisoner), and about 50 evacuated for various sicknesses. (2) More significant, however, they had now lost their principal forward defensive position along the approaches to the Saverne Gap.

More Reorganizations

During 11 and 12 October, the 79th Division and the 106th Cavalry Group cleared the remainder of the forest and pushed on to the new German defensive lines to the east. A final advance by all the 79th's regiments on the 13th managed to secure Embermenil, in the center of the German line, but elsewhere the division made only limited progress in the face of heavy German artillery and mortar fire and flooded ground. Thereafter the dispositions of the division remained essentially unchanged.
The subsequent inactivity of the XV Corps was due in part to the redeployment of many Third Army support units, which had to be returned by the 15th. At the request of General Devers, Bradley agreed to allow Haislip to retain two heavy field artillery battalions, but the XV Corps lost four field artillery battalions, four antiaircraft gun battalions, a three-battalion engineer combat group, a tank destroyer battalion, and some lesser units, forcing Haislip to pause while he redistributed his remaining support forces.
On the German side Army Group B was once again to be strengthened at the expense of Army Group G, not only to satisfy Army Group B's immediate requirements, but also in preparation for the Ardennes offensive scheduled for December. (3) The bulk of the 13th Panzer Grenadier Division withdrew from its lines opposite the 79th Division during the night of 15-16 October, and on 17 October the sector passed to the control of the 553d Volksgrenadier Division, (4) with an effeclive infantry strength of no more than a few battalions. To bolster the division for its defensive mission, Army Group G reinforced it with the 1416th Fortress Infantry Battalion, the 56th Fortress Machine Gun Battalion, and the 42d Panzer Grenadier Replacement Battalion.
Next, the Fifth Panzer Army headquarters passed to Army Group B's control on 16 October, leaving Army Group G with only two subordinate army commands, the First and the Nineteenth. The First Army assumed command of the LVIII Panzer Corps in the north, and the Nineteenth Army took control of the XLVII Panzer Corps in the south. A new boundary, separating the First and Nineteenth Armies, began at Ogeviller and ran northeast across the Vosges to pass a few miles north of Strasbourg. The XLVII Panzer Corps' attachment to the Nineteenth Army was short-lived, and one day later, on 17 September, OB West also transferred this headquarters to Army Group B's control, providing the Nineteenth Army with the LXXXIX Corps headquarters as a substitute.
Logistical problems, bad weather, and, apparently, slow intelligence analysis helped prevent the 79th Division from taking advantage of the German redeployments east of the Parroy forest. Moreover, the XV Corps was waiting for the 44th Infantry Division - the new third division that Eisenhower had promised Devers in September - to reach the front before the 79th Division resumed the offensive. The 44th Division, under the command of Maj. Gen. Robert L. Spragins, closed its assembly area near Luneville on 17 October and during the next few days took over 79th Division positions from the vicinity of Embermenil south to the Vezouse River, while the 79th concentrated on a narrower front for a new attack.
On 21 and 22 October the three regiments of the 79th Division, advancing abreast across a front of almost two and a half miles, gained nearly a mile and a half in a north-easterly direction from Embermenil, thus securing better defensive terrain as well as better observation of German positions. On the 23d the 44th Division started to relieve the 79th Division in place, which then began a much needed rest. Tragically, for General Patch, commanding the Seventh Army, the relief came two days too late. His son, Capt. Alexander M. Patch III, commanding Company C of the 315th Infantry, was killed by German mortar fire on 22 October, and the army commander was to feel the loss deeply for many months to come.
For the remainder of October the 44th Infantry Division played a rather static role, but one that prepared the new division for forthcoming offensive actions. Its activities were limited mostly to patrols and artillery duels, and little attempt was made to gain new ground. Elements of the 106th Cavalry Group maintained contact with Third Army units along the line of the Rhine-Marne Canal and undertook limited reconnaissance, but adopted a generally defensive attitude.
To the south, the French 2d Armored Division continued to rest and refit. From 30 September to 3 October, units of the division had supported the advance of the VI Corps' 45th Division to the Rambervillers area, culminating in several sharp engagements along the Rambervillers-Baccarat highway. On the 3d the French armor was relieved of its responsibilities in the zone by the VI Corps' 117th Cavalry Squadron, and, as planned, the division went on the defensive for the remainder of the month.
During this period the French division kept three of its four combat commands (5) in the line, rotating each to the rear for sorely needed rest, rehabilitation, and vehicle maintenance. From 3 through 30 October the division lost approximately 35 men killed and 140 wounded, most of them as a result of German artillery or mortar fire. (6) As dusk came on the 30th, the division was preparing to launch an attack to seize Baccarat, an operation that once again would alarm the German high command and divert their attention from the more direct approaches to the Saverne Gap.

(1) The 1416th Fortress Infantry Battalion and the 51st Fortress Machine Gun Battalion.
(2) The German casualty figures in the text are based on various figures given in Mosenthal, CMH MS R-74. A thorough search of 106th Cavalry Group, 79th Division, XV Corps, and Seventh Army files failed to produce any usable casualty figures for the 106th Cavalry Group and the 79th Division during the period 28 September through 9 October.
(3) For the planning and buildup for the Ardennes, see Hugh M. Cole, The Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge, United States Army in World War II (Washington, 1965), chs. 1-3.
(4) The German Army began forming Volksgrenadier ("people's grenadier") divisions in August and september 1944. The new divisions had a rather austere authorized strength of around 12,000 troops. Division artillery consisted of three instead of four battalions; there was no divisional antitank battalion; and service elements were greatly reduced. On the other hand the infantry elements, armed primarily with automatic weapons, had markedly more firepower than the infantry of standard divisions; furthermore, the infantry regiments and battalions of the Volksgrenadier divisions had their own organic antitank weapons. Most were built on the remnants of older divisions shattered during the earlier fighting in France or on the eastern front; for example, 553d Volksgrenadier Division was formed around cadre and veterans of the 553d Infantry Division.
(5) Unlike other French and American armored divisions, the 2d French Armored Division normally operated with four rather than three combat commands. The fourth, CCR, was named after its commander, Col. Jean S. Remy, who in the division's administrative structure was also the commander of the division's organic reconnaissance squadron, the 1st Moroccan Spahis Regiment. CCR's basic organization consisted of the headquarters and one troop of the 1st Moroccan Spahis, an armored infantry company, a towed antitank company, a battery of armored field artillery, and a platoon of combat engineers. Other units were added as dictated by circumstances and missions. CCR was, in effect, a permanent reconnaissance-in-force organization, but could also be employed as a ready reserve if the tactical situation called for it.
(6) Total XV Corps casualties for the month of October, including those of the 2d French Armored Division, numbered about 365 men killed, 2,310 wounded, 165 missing, and 2,410 nonbattle. During the month XV Corps received 5,720 replacements or returnees, and the corps captured over 1,760 Germans.

XV Corps Attacks

After the French 2d Armored Division's seizure of Baccarat and after some minor 44th Division advances during the first week of November, little change had taken place along the XV Corps' front until the night of 11-12 November. Then, under cover of darkness, the 79th Division began moving into forward assembly lines in the Mondon forest south of the Vezouse River (Map 26). Heavy rains had gradually turned into blizzards during the days preceding the attack, and by evening of the 12th wet snow blanketed the entire corps sector. All streams in the area were flooded, many roads and bridges were under water, and the troops described the now ever-present French mud as bottomless. (1) In fact, the weather had been so poor that General Devers contemplated postponing Haislip's attack; but about 2300 that night he decided to proceed with the offensive, hoping that the Germans might not expect a major attack under such adverse conditions. (2) The 44th and 79th Divisions, each with two regiments abreast, jumped off on schedule early the following morning of 13 November.
Behind an intensive artillery preparation, the 44th Division attacked along the axis of the railroad line to Sarrebourg, with the 324th Infantry on the left and the 71st Infantry on the right. At first both regiments advanced rapidly, but by 0800 the Germans had recovered from the bombardment and responded with heavy and accurate artillery, mortar, and machine-gun fire all across the division's front. By dark, disappointing gains had carried the leading battalions hardly a mile eastward, and the high point of the day was the capture of battered Leintrey, a small town at the junction of three secondary roads. Operations on 14 November were even less productive, and General Spragins, the division commander, decided to commit his reserves, the 114th Infantry, in the Leintrey area. After passing through the 71st Infantry on the south, the 1 14th was to swing north across the fronts of the other two regiments, sweeping through the defenses of the 553d Volksgrenadier Division from the flank and rear.
This somewhat unorthodox - if not dangerous - maneuver proved successful; by the evening of the 15th, the 114th Infantry had gained a mile and a half to the east, northeast, and north of Leintrey, thus dislocating the German defenses in the rising, partially wooded ground. On 16 November the 114th Infantry and the 106th Cavalry Group mopped up on the division's left, and the next day the 324th and 71st Infantry continued their advance east, passing through the wake of the 114th, which reverted to its reserve status.

By 18 November the defenses of the 553d Volksgrenadier Division began to unravel in the face of the continuing attack. During the following day
the 71st Infantry undertook the division's main effort and pushed some nine miles along the axis of Route N-4, coming almost within sight of the Rhine-Marne Canal, about six miles short of the division's objective, Sarrebourg. To the north, the 324th, now in support of the 71st, kept pace, as did elements of the 106th Cavalry stretching eastward along the canal. The 44th Division had achieved at least half of the breakthrough that Haislip had hoped for.
South of the 44th Division, General Wyche's 79th Division began its attack on 13 November from a line of departure near Montigny, at the junction of Routes N-392 and N-435. By the following day the 314th Infantry on the left had reached Halloville, while the 315th on the right pushed several miles up Route N-392 toward Badonviller. The Halloville thrust threatened to drive a wedge between the 553d and 708th Volksgrenadier Divisions and was clearly the most dangerous penetration. As the 708th prepared a strong counterattack, the 315th Infantry, moving up to support its sister unit, struck first and sent an infantry force backed by tanks and tank destroyers into the German assembly area east of Halloville, which dispersed the German reserves and, in the process, destroyed most of the 708th's assault guns. (3)
On the 15th the Germans made two more attempts to restore the situation in the Halloville sector. First, elements of the 553d Volksgrenadier Division Struck south from Blamont, along Route N-4 and the Vezouse River about three miles north of Halloville. Then another force, probably under the direct control of the LXIV Corps, moved up from the southeast. So ineffectual were these efforts that the 79th Division's forward units reported no unusual activity. Thus, as the 44th Division began to dislocate the 553d Division's defenses in the north, the 79th Division now began to penetrate the lines of the 708th Division at will, walking nearly unopposed into Harbouey, two miles northeast of Halloville, and continuing its advance toward the southern approaches to Sarrebourg.
At the headquarters of both the Nineteenth Army and the LXIV Corps, the situation began to appear desperate as early as 16 November. Lacking any radio or telephone communications with the 708th Volksgrenadier Division, the German commanders believed that the converging Allied attacks along Route N-4 had pushed back the 708th's right flank, thus cutting off the 553d Volksgrenadier Division from the rest of the corps. Actually the situation was not yet that bleak. During the night of 15-16 November, the left of the 553d had fallen back in fairly good order to Blamont and reestablished a defensive line on the Vezouse to Cirey-sur-Vezouse. About the same time, the rather disorganized right wing of the 708th Volksgrenadiers began moving into line south from Cirey along rising, forested terrain dotted with installations of the Vosges Foothill Position. Nevertheless, the condition of LXIV Corps' defenses was rapidly becoming a serious problem.
On 16 November Haislip began to commit elements of the 2d Armored Division in order to secure the flanks of both attacking divisions and to ensure that the momentum of the offensive continued. Combat Command Remy (CCR) began to push southeast from Halloville along secondary roads, clearing roadblocks and mines and generally disorganizing the 708th Division 's lines of communication. On the 17th CCV reinforced Remy, striking east about five miles along Route N-392 from Montigny to seize Badonviller and then swinging north two miles to Bremenil. Meanwhile, to the north, elements of CCL (de Langlade) began moving up to Blamont along Route N-4, as 79th Division infantry forces crossed the Vezouse River to the east, in the face of still strong opposition from the 553d Volksgrenadier Division, and began to invest the town from the north.
On 18 November, as the 44th Division started its deep penetration of the 553d Volksgrenadiers' front along Route N-4, the right of the 708th Volksgrenadier Division collapsed, as Wiese had feared. CCR and elements of CCV subsequently rolled northward for four unopposed miles to capture bridges at Cirey-sur- Vezouse. The Badonviller-Cirey road had been a main supply route of the German defenders, and the French found it clear of roadblocks and mines. On the same day, the left of the 79th Division walked unopposed into Blamont. Although German artillery and mortar fire halted further progress north of the Vezouse, the effect was only temporary.
During the night of 18-19 November, the left wing of the 553d Volksgrenadier Division withdrew in a vain attempt to establish a new defensive line from Richeval, five miles north-east of Blamont, south and east through Tanconville to Bertrambois and Lafrimbolle. The American and French attackers never gave the 553d time to pause. By noon on the 19th, the 79th Division's 314th regiment was approaching Richeval; the 315th had passed through Tanconville; CCL had cleared Bertrambois; and CCR units had reached out to Lafrimbolle in the mountains, a mile and a half east of Bertrambois. Haislip was now ready to begin the exploitation phase of his attack, and at 1345 that afternoon he turned the rest of Leclerc's 2d Armored Division loose.

(1) XV Corps AAR, Nov 44, p. 13. In mid-November, flooding along the fronts of the Third and Seventh Armies was supposedly the worst in the area since 1919.
(2) G-3 Section, HQ, 6th Army Gp, Final Report, World War II, p. 21.
(3) The 315th claimed the destruction of five assault guns and "some other vehicles" (315th Inf AAR, Nov 44, p. 16), while von Luttichau's "German Operations," ch. 22, relates that the Germans lost nine of the ten assault guns sent into action.


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