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1944 - 100ème division d'infanterie américaine


The story of the Century.
Ed. New-york, 1946
100th Infantry Division

On 23 July 1946, in Allendorf, Germany, General Von Mellenthin, commanding general of the 19th Germany Army, submitted the following sworn statement relative to enemy forces and defenses confronting the 100th Division during the Vosges Mountains campaign and the battle for Bitche. This sensational, press-time revelation was forwarded to the editor from Germany by Gen. Withers A. Burress. More than any commendation by an American general, it extols the fighting qualities of the soldiers of the Century Division. It is also a lucid supplement to our own G-2 information.


While in October 1944, the general attitude of enemy forces in the larger Metz area can be described as quiet and the units of the German First Army, which were very much worn out by battles ensuing the invasion and the subsequent withdrawal through France, had some time for refreshening, the troops of the Seventh U. S. Army, committed in the Vosges, left the Nineteenth Army no time for carrying out the badly needed refreshening in peace. Thus the 21st Panzer Div. and the 16th Div., committed in the Rambervillers-Bruyeres sector, were involved in current defensive battles, which pressed their positions back for several kilometers, in October 1944. Nevertheless, they were able to prevent a breakthrough.
On 8 November 1944 an American major attack was launched on the sector on both sides of Metz. According to an order given by the Army Group G, the 21st Panzer Div. was to be relieved by the 708th Div. commencing on the night of 9-10 November 1944. The Panzer Div. was quickly transferred to the Metz battle area in order to be committed there against the threatening enemy breakthrough. The 708th Div., now in the course of being brought up, had been activated in Slovakia about six weeks ago.
By 10 November 1944 a defensive battle, lasting for several days, commenced in the Baccarat-St. Die-Bruyeres area, in which the enemy had but little success in the beginning. On 11 November 1944 stronger U. S. forces attacked also further to the North in the direction of Blamont.
While the 553rd Div., committed here, in a tenacious battle succeeded in preventing an enemy breakthrough, the situation in the Herbeviller-Baccarat sector, and south of it where the 708th Div. was committed, developed in a less satisfactory manner. The relief of the 21st Panzer Div. by this infantry division was not completed at that time, so that here the enemy struck on a sector not yet fully ready for defense. He could, therefore, make deep penetrations and Baccarat was taken by the 100 U. S. Div.*
Also, on 13 November 1944 the 553rd Div., in general, was able to hold its positions west of Blamont. On the contrary, the situation on the 708th Div. sector became threatening. Exact reports from the division had not yet arrived at the higher staffs on that day. Still, it is recognized that the American leadership quickly grasped the big possibilities offered to them in the Baccarat area as on that day the U. S. units were energetically pushing forward in the direction of Ancerviller and Badonviller. On 15 and 16 November 1944, the remnants of the 708th Div., defeated in the Vortagen, were driven back to the line Cirey - east of Badonviller-Raon L'Etape. Thereby the Seventh U. S. Army (100th Div.) had succeeded in penetrating to a depth of 20 kilometers. The elements, still holding positions west of Blamont, were thereby threatened on their deep southern wing and had to be withdrawn into the Blamont area and north of it. Between 17 and 18 November 1944, the 708th Div. was completely pressed back to the edge of the Vosges.
Thus the inner wings of the XV and VI U. S. Corps - the 14th U. S. Armd. Div. and the 100th U. S. Div. - succeeded in smashing the 708th Div., lacking combat experience, and in a daring thrust, during a few days, advanced to the line Raon L'Etape-Badonviller-south of Blamont, while the attack launched by U. S. units further north in the direction of Blamont, and north of it, could make headway for a few kilometers only. **
Summing up, from the point of view of the Army Croup G, we can say that the U. S. units committed on the sector of Baccarat and north of it had almost completely smashed the 708th Div., caught the 553rd Div. in its deep wing, creating thereby the supposition for the breakthrough of the American and French Armored Forces near Zabern, taking place on 22 November 1944.


The counter-attack launched by the Panzer Lehr Div. on 24 and 26 November 1944, with the object of closing the front gap near Zabern (Savern) by a thrust from the Sarrunion to the South, had failed. The forces did not suffice for this purpose. Besides, the 11th and 25th Panzer Divs., which were still committed in the sector of the First Army, were required for our major Ardennes offensive, which was scheduled to begin middle of December. On the night of 30 November-1 December 1944 the Panzer Lehr Div. had to be quickly relieved from the Saarunion area. With a heavy heart, we had to order the 11th Panzer Div. with subordinate 25th Panzer Gren. Div. still to extend their long drawn sector in order to relieve forces necessary for relief of the Panzer Lehr Div. On 1 December 1944, the main body of the 11th Panzer Div. and the 25th Panzer Gren. Div. - the latter consisted only of one regimental group with about 8 to 10 tanks - were already taken back into the line Wittring-Aachen-Biningen-(Biming)-Bois de Heiligenbronn (Maginot Line). On that day stronger U. S. Armored Forces pushed forward on both sides of the road Lorenzen-Biningen toward Bitche. We succeeded in intercepting this push by flanking fire from both sides, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy. One of these armored flanking groups was assembled in the woods southeast of Biningen.
The 361st Volks Gren. Div., which was committed on the adjacent sector of the lower Vosges south of Bitche - one of the best infantry divisions engaged in the defensive battle in the larger area of, Metz - had in the beginning of December to withstand a steadily increasing enemy pressure in forset battles. In these battles, the 100th U. S. Div., which was known to us from the Vosges (battles) as being a crack assault division with daring and flexible leadership, succeeded in taking the village Mouterhouse, Lemberg and Montbronn. In consequence of this steady, strong enemy pressure the Army Group G was not able to withdraw from the Bitche sector the 11th Panzer Div. and the 25th Panzer Gren. Div. so badly needed for the Ardennes offensive. These forces had to remain on this front in order to prevent a possible breakthrough of the American forces in the Bitche area.

* Baccarat was not taken by the 100th Div. The Division did debouch from that town for its attack through the Vosges Mountains.
** In other words, the attack by the 100th Div. was of material assistance to XV corps in its breakthrough to SAVERN Pass and the capture of STRASSBOURG.


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