Peragimus, "We Accomplish"
On the 8th of the month, the Regiment assembled in secrecy on the west bank of the Moselle, near Cattlenom. By daylight of the following day the First and Third Battalions had crossed the river in assault boats, and begun the attack on the enemy's river defense. The Second, crossing later in the morning, experienced difficulty in finding necessary boats and was subjected to Jerry's observed artillery fire. Meanwhile, the once serene and peaceful Moselle broke into a raging torrent whose flood waters threatened to overrun the entire landscape. Bridging operations by the Engineers came to a standstill. At the same time, the enemy plastered the entire river line with all the artillery he could muster. The situation fast became critical. Medical supplies, rations and ammunition had to be rushed across by boat. On the east bank of the river there were no vehicles, and all supplies were hand carried to the fighting men on the line.
Confronting the First Battalion loomed the mighty bastion of Fort Koenigsmacher that stood defiant before any attacking force. "A" Company was in a hot spot after having launched a determined assault on the great fort. It finally reached the top only to sit there under a murderous hail of enemy fire. For three days and four nights "A" Company, later joined by "B" Company, sat exposed on top of the Fort, all the while subjected to heavy artillery adjusted from within the fort itself. "C" Company and the Regimental Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon occupied and secured the town of Basse Ham on the Division's right flank.
At All Costs
The men on the Fort refused to back off. They had decided to take the Fort at all costs. At last badly needed demolitions to crack the Fort were flown over by artillery liaison planes and dropped to the assaulting forces. On the third day, the "A" Company forces literally blew the enemy from the west end of the Fort and forced them through the tunnels into the waiting arms of "G" Company at the other end. The fall of Fort Koenigsmacher was brought about by the unequaled courage and tenacity of the small "A" Company force that had originally gained the top and refused to leave until the job was completed. The battle was recorded as one of the greatest achievements of the 358th Infantry.
A Bridge at Last
The battle against the raging waters of the Moselle continued as hard pressed supply men and engineers worked continuously at the river bank. As the water began to recede on the 4th day after the attack, a new menace was uncovered, in the form of mines, and bridging operations were held up again while they were removed from the river bed.
Finally, the long fight against the mighty Moselle River ended when, on the sixth day the bridge was completed and vehicles and guns rolled across to the beleaguered Regiment on the other side. As the Regiment and other elements of the Division pushed southeast, the fortress of Metz to the south gradually became sealed in an inescapable pocket. Allied forces were now entering the city from all directions.
Conterattack at Distroff
While other forces dealt finishing blows to Metz the 358th Infantry continued its thrust southeastward with the Second and Third Battalions leading. The renowned "K" Company, "Kraut Killers", so named because of their reputation for killing 5 Krauts each, lead the Third Battalion in the capture of Valstroff, later capturing Distroff.
After the capture of Distroff the Second Battalion was subjected to a fierce counterattack by elements of the crack 105th Panzer Brigade. After a fierce battle, climaxed by the entry of the attached armor of Company "B" of 773rd TD Battalion and Company A of 712 Tank Battalion the attackers were severely beaten and dispersed. Wrecked tanks and armored cars were everywhere to be seen and in a field in "F" companies' area, 120 enemy dead were found. This was the punch that failed and broke the enemy. As the German forces withdrew, the Regiment was placed in Division Reserve and assembled in three towns, Luttange, Metzereche and Metzervisse.
A Gate to the Siegfried
Attachment to the 10th Armored Division on the 19th of November had the outfit retracing its steps toward the Moselle where it turned north towards Sierck and Borg, to find the armor waiting for the doughboy to tear down all the pillboxes, blow up all the mines and booby traps, and install a swinging gate on the Siegfried Line. Until the 27th of November, the Regiment butted against the steel and concrete Siegfried Line while the armor waited for its breakthrough, and the enemy poured in fresh troops to man the fortifications. The task proved too great for one Regiment, however, and the 358th Infantry was withdrawn and returned to the Division in the vicinity of Veckring, France - stopping off place before the Saar River.
The data on this web page was last updated on
© 2001 World History Compass All Rights Reserved.
The World History Compass logo is a trademark of World History Compass.