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U.S. Army, 358th Infantry, 1st Battalion Journal, November 1944

Forward

This is a transcription of a document found in the U.S. Army Military History Institute's Working Bibliography as item #603-358.1944.

Here we have only one month of day to day insight into the Battalion's history. Up to this point the 1st Battalion had five months combat behind it beginning in Normandy. Still to come was the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of the Rhine before finishing the War in Czechoslovakia.

November was a very important month in 1st Battalion history however as Fort Koenigsmacher was taken. This was regarded as the greatest military achievement of the 358th Infantry Regiment in the War. The Battalion, while attached to the 10th Amored Infantry Division, was not as successful in it's attempt to breach the Siegfried Line later in the month.

The time period covered in this journal coincides with The Moselle, a chapter in Peragimus, A Brief History of the 358th Infantry.

Robert Schiller

010530 Nov. At 0800 Bn was motorized and traveled 41 miles to the vicinity of Morfontaine to carry out an extensive training schedule and occupied old French barracks as quarters.

Coordinate: 621957

Casualties: None

020700 Nov. Training Schedule arranged for the EM and carried out during the day. Maj. Lytle, Bn CO promoted to Lt. Col. Morale of EM is excellent. Weather cold and clear.

Coordinate: 621957

Casualties: None

030700 Nov. Training Schedule carried out during the day. The EM were paid for the month of October. Weather clear and cold.

Coordinate: 621957

Casualties: None

040700 Nov. Training Schedule carried out during the day. Ordnance Inspection of weapons took place. Weather clear and cold.

Coordinate: 621957

Casualties: None

050700 Nov. Protestant and Catholic Church Services were held for the EM in the morning and afternoon. Motion Pictures were shown at 1800. Hot showers were available for the EM. Weather clear and cold.

Coordinate: 621957

Casualties: None

060700 Nov. The EM were given a demonstration by the Engineers on loading and operating of Assault Boats for River Crossings. Bn CO held a meeting at 1900 which was attended by all the Officers of the Bn. At 2000 Motion Pictures were shown to the EM. Weather rain and cold.

Coordinate: 621957

Casualties: None

070700 Nov. At 1600 Bn was motorized and moved out to an Assembly Area located at Havange where hot food was served to the EM. Bn then continued to a further Assembly Area at Forest of Cattenom. A distance of 22 miles was covered during the day. Weather rain and cold.

Coordinate: 895925

Casualties: None

080700 Nov. At 1700 Bn CO briefed the battalion upon the coming attack against the Germans and outlined the Bn's Mission. At 2400 Bn marched out from the Assembly Area and arrived at Huzange. A distance of 2½ miles. Weather rain and cold.

Coordinate: 901903

Casualties: None

090330 Nov. At 0330 Bn jumped off for the attack by crossing the swollen Moselle River, which was the worst flood in 29 years, caused by the heavy rain of the preceding days. The EM carried the Assault Boats for one mile, from concealed positions to the bank of the Moselle River. The 179th Combat Engineers manned the boats for Co's "A" and "C" who led the crossing, while the EM of Co's "B", "D" and Hq Co. who followed, had to handle the boats themselves in making the crossing. "A" Co by passed the town of Besse Ham, and reached the railroad tracks. Co. "C" after landing attacked the town of Basse Ham, while Co. "B" after landing contacted Co. "A" and both companies then started forward to attack Fort Koenigsmacker where they met with heavy resistance caused by enemy shelling. At the close of the day several concrete shelters and German OP's had been taken by the Fort, while Co. "C" had cleared all but the S/W part of Basse Ham. 2 German prisoners were taken.

Coordinates: Fort Koenigsmacker 928877
                  Basse Ham            919887

Casualties  : 28

100700 Nov. Co's "A" and "B" continued the attack on Fort Koenigsmacker, blowing up installations, concrete shelters and German OP's. Co. "C" continued cleaning out enemy resistance in S/W part of Basse Ham and Mission was accomplished by 1700. During the night, Lt. Aughtry, Bn S-3, with the assistance of Hq. And "D" Co's EM made seven crossings of the Moselle River by boat and brought over rations, ammunition, medical equipment and supplies of all kinds, with priority given to high explosive, composition C-2. Supplies were also dropped during the day by the Artillery Observation Plane as an emergency means. 34 German EM, 1 Non-Com and 2 Russian women were taken prisoners.

Coordinates: Fort Koenigsmacker 928877
                  Basse Ham 919887

Casualties : 29

110700 Nov. Co. "C" moved up and joined Co. "A" and "B" in the attack on Fort Koenigsmacker, while Hq. And "D" Co's outposted the town of Basse Ham, to protect the right flank of the Division. During the day, Co.'s "A", "B" and "C" with the assistance of the 315th Engineers continued the assault and demolition of Fort Koenigsmacker. At 1600 the German Garrison started escaping through a tunnel which led into the 2nd Bn Area. The German Fort Commander on reaching the exit of the tunnel surrendered to "G" Co. of 2nd Bn which consisted of 301 German Troops. The companies then proceeded to mop up the Fort. At 1730 "A" and "B" Co's moved back to Basse Ham to get a much needed rest, while "C" Co remained at the Fort to maintain contact with the 2nd Bn and hold the Fort. During the night Hq. Co. brought over supplies in boats from Huzange and on return trips evacuated our wounded troops. Artillery Observation Plane also dropped Emergency Supplies to the Bn. 11 German prisoners were taken.

Coordinates: Fort Koenigsmacker 928877
                  Basse Ham 919887

Casualties : 23

120700 Nov. The Companies reorganized during the morning. The 315th Engineers removed bombs and artillery shells planted as mines at the crossroads in Basse Ham. Hq. Co. brought over supplies in boats during the day. At 1500 "B" Co. moved to Valmestroff and took up a defensive position. Hq. and "A" Co's outposted Basse Ham and "C" Co. took up a defensive position outside of Fort Koenigsmacker and contacted "B" Co.

Coordinates: Fort Koenigsmacker 928877
                  Basse Ham 919887
                  Valmestroff 932856

Casualties : 1

130700 Nov. Hq. and "A" Co. remained in Basse Ham, Co "B" in town of Valmestroff and Co. "C" held a defensive position outside of Fort Koenigsmacker.

Coordinates: Same

Casualties : None

140700 Nov. At 1400 Bn marched forward to town of Valmestroff a distance of three miles from Basse Ham and went into Regt'l Reserve. Weather rain and cold. Morale of EM is excellent. 4 prisoners taken.

Coordinates: Valmestroff 932856

Casualties : 1

150700 Nov. At 1000 Companies alerted to move out and help the 2nd Bn take the town of Distroff. They moved out but were halted on receiving orders, before reaching the town, as the situation cleared up. Co.'s A and C moved back into an Assembly Area located in the forest on outskirts of Valmestroff, while "B" Co and Hq. Co. stayed in the town of Valmestroff.

Coordinates: Valmestroff 932856

Casualties : 2

160600 Nov. Bn pushed off for the attack with Co's B & C leading the assault. They moved forward and seized the high ground S/E of Distroff. Some opposition was encountered with the most trouble being from enemy heavy shelling. Bn CP Command Group moved forward at 1500 and set up in the town of Inglange. Bn halted and set up a defensive position for the night after contacting 2nd Bn. "A" Co in reserve.

Coordinates: 961830- 963832

Casualties : 16

170530 Nov. At 0530 Bn CP Command Group moved from Inglange to Metservisse. At 0630 Bn attacked with B and C Co's the assault companies and "A" Co. in reserve. The Bn moved forward and seized the intermediate objective and met with no resistance. The Companies then reorganized and waited for the 2nd Bn to attack. At 1500 Bn again jumped off and seized the Regt'l objective which was the high ground S. of Metserescheren. Companies then halted, established contact with the 2nd Bn and took up defensive positions for the night. During the day Bn was subjected to heavy enemy shelling but slight resistance was encountered in seizing Regt'l objective. Weather cold.

Coordinates: 947805-961809-957804

Casualties : 34

180700 Nov. Bn jumped off for the attack at 0900 with "B" Co. on the left and "C" Co on the right and cleaned out the forest S. of Metseresche, with no opposition being encountered. At 1500 Regt. went into Division Reserve and Bn moved into an Assembly Area at Luttange.

Coordinate: 964756

Casualties: 1

190700 Nov. Regt. still in Division Reserve. EM attended Church Services and a period of rehabilitation took place. Hot meals were served. At 1300 Bn CO gave a 20 minute orientation talk to each of the Companies.

Coordinate: 964756

Casualties: None

200700 Nov. Bn in Regt'l Reserve. EM cleaned weapons and equipment during the day. Weather rain and cold.

Coordinate: 964756

Casualties: None

210700 Nov. At 1200 Bn was motorized and moved to the town of Manderen, a distance of 22 miles. Bn attached to the 10th Armored Division.

Coordinate: 057954

Casualties: None

220700 Nov. Bn still attached to the 10th Armored Infantry Division, although not yet committed. Weather rain and cold.

Coordinate: 057954

Casualties: None

230700 Nov. At 0900 Bn was motorized and moved to Ober-Perl located in Germany. A distance of 7 miles was covered. Bn in an Assembly Area and in Regt'l Reserve with Mission to help the 2nd and 3rd Bn if needed in any part of Regt'l Zone of action. Bn had Thanksgiving Dinner and Church Services were held.

Coordinate: 028982 Casualties: None

240700 Nov. At 1200 Bn moved from Ober-Perl to L.D. in Forest N/E of Hellendorf. At 1530 Bn jumped off to attack with "A" and "B" Co's leading the assault and Co. "C" in reserve. They moved forward and met with very little enemy resistance, until Co. "B" reached the town of Ober-Leuken. After taking about 1/3 of the town, darkness forced them to hold until dawn. Co. "B" took 25 prisoners. Weather-Rain. Bn CP in town of Hellendorf.

Coordinates: 076992 - 087013 - 082015 - 090016

Casualties : None

250700 Nov. Companies tried to clear the town of Ober-Leuken but were unsuccessful in taking over the entire town. They held off a counter attack of three enemy tanks and infantry, without losing ground. Companies then built up a defense for the night. Two German officers and 60 EM were taken prisoners.

Coordinate: 076991

Casualties: 6

260700 Nov. Co.'s A and B held part of town of Ober-Leuken which they had already taken. Co. C held the high ground S/E of town. At 1400 Bn started being relieved by elements of the 10th Armored Infantry Division. Companies started to withdraw from their positions at dusk and withdrawal was completed at 2000. All available means was taken to evacuate the wounded under difficult circumstances and accomplished it, although four bodies had to be left in town due to intense enemy fire. Upon completion of withdrawal Bn was motorized and moved to an assembly area at Ober-Perl about seven miles away.

Coordinate: Ober-Perl 026982

Casualties: 34

270700 Nov. Bn spent the morning rehabilitating. At 1315 Bn was motorized and moved to an assembly area in vicinity of Veckring, a distance of 22 miles. Bn was placed under Division Control. Weather clear and cold.

Coordinate: 015829

Casualties: None

280800 Nov. Church Services held in the morning. Ordnance Inspection took place. EM tested and fired weapons on the range. New clothing and equipment issued to the EM. Bn in Division Reserve.

Coordinate: 015829

Casualties: None

290700 Nov. Bn in Division Reserve. Red Cross Clubmobile visited area and served coffee and doughnuts to the EM. Church Services held in the morning. At 2000 motion picture shown to the EM at the local theatre. Three platoons from Bn took part in a parade and demonstration at Metz.

Coordinate: 015829

Casualties: None

300700 Nov. At 0830 EM were taken by motor vehicles to Thionville where hot showers were available. Church services were held in the morning. At 1400 and 2000 Motion Pictures were shown the EM and Corp. entertainers also performed to the delight of the EM. At 1600 Maj. Arthur L. Nichols, formerly S-3 of the Regt. assumed temporary command of the Bn due to Lt. Col. Lytle being hospitalized.

Coordinate: 015829

Casualties: None

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