1)  La bataille meutrière du Mont Saint Jean


Salival est situé au nord du Mont Saint Jean.
Trois jours de bataille furent nécessaire aux Américains, en novembre 1944, pour s'emparer de la côte Saint Jean défendue par les Allemands et qui constituait le verrou de la Seille.

Plaque commémorative située dans la chapelle Saint Livier

On déplora plus de quatre cents morts et blessés du côté américain et au moins autant du côté allemand. Ceux-ci furent enterrés au cimetière allemand de Niederbronn, les américains quant à eux le furent au cimetière de Saint Avold.

Pour les anglophones, voici trois récits de la bataille de la côte Saint Jean:

récit n°1:

101st Infantry Regiment
Battle Honors
"The plan was for the 3rd Battalion to follow the 2nd Battalion when it had reached Moyenvic, France, at which time the 1st Battalion was to disengage itself from the enemy and assemble in the vicinity of Juvrecourt, France, and follow the 3rd Battalion around the left of the position and thence to Moyenvic. "Hill 310" was the initial objective.

In the darkness of the morning of November 8th, Lt. Col. Lyons left to join the forward elements of his Battalion. With no indications that the enemy suspected an attack, Lt. Col. Lyons inched the assault echelons of his Battalion closer to the enemy lines for a better jump-off position. At 0600 on the 8th November 1944, the attack jumped off, preceded by a thoroughly devastating hour of artillery preparation.

For many men in the Regiment the deafening, ceaseless, foreboding roar of artillery on this morning marked a standard by which future mornings could and would be judged. Moving in a column of battalions, 2nd Battalion leading, the assault on Hill 310 had started. A surprise jump-off found "G" Company in Moyenvic, France, and "I" Company in Salival, France, before the enemy could catch his breath. "E" and "F" Companies continued around the flanks of Moyenvic, establishing a river crossing by swimming the Seille River and capturing a bridge north of Moyenvic. An important stepping stone, this bridge assisted both companies in a continuous drive on to the hill, elements of "F" Company having made for the hill prior to the capture of the bridge. At 0915 elements of "E" and "F" Companies were securely entrenched on the high ground of Hill 310, when later they were reinforced by "L" Company and "M" Company. The 1st Battalion had effected a convincing demonstration in its original position so that the enemy would not discover the line of thrust of the Regiment's main effort. At 1100 the 1st Battalion extracted itself from the enemy, followed the route taken by the other two battalions, and contacted "I" Company on the west side of Hill 310.

The drive was made not without difficulty. The attack had carried the Division into a penetration of the enemy's lines, leaving elements of the enemy on the Regiment's right rear. A terrific stream of enemy harassing artillery fire came from that enemy element, conservatively estimated at 3500 rounds in a period of two days. Moreover, Hill 310 was the beginning of a ridgeline which ran to the north and then turned to the east, affording the enemy direct observation on Hill 310 and the surrounding area. "

récit n°2:

“Time on Target: The 945th Field Artillery Battalion in World War II” (Hardcover)

The Lorraine Campaign

3 September to 16 December 1944

  1. "All the eastern sky glowed and trembled with the flashes of guns"
    - Maj. Gen. Patton

Hill 310  ou côte saint Jean

"The 104th Infantry (26th Inf. Div.) advanced into Vic-Sur-Seille, and the 101st Infantry seized a bridge at Moyenvic; however, Hill 310 just east of Vic-Sur-Seille remained in German hands. The deterioration in the weather prevented artillery support, and the men on the hill, many of whom had shed their coats in the initial attack on the first day, suffered from exposure when rain and snow began to fall late on the 8th and into the next two days. It would take three days of fighting in the cold and snow to take the hill, with a cost of 478 officers and men killed or wounded. The 945th was again close to the front with all three batteries around Vic-Sur-Seille on 10 November.

At the end of the first day all of the units for the 35th, 80th and 26th Infantry Divisions were at their assigned objectives - then the rain started. The 945th fired 435 HE rounds to support the attack. The War Diary notes that the 8th started clear, turning to rain in the afternoon. By the next day it was snowing.

récit n°3:

Artillery And Armored Units In The ETO
For its entry into combat on 8 November at Athainville east of Nancy, parts of the battalion, as was normal for separate armored units, were attached to elements of the 26th Division and placed in special task forces. The 26th Division was then preparing for XII Corps' November offensive. Company A of the 761st was attached to the 104th Infantry with one platoon attached to the 101st Infantry. Company C was attached to the 328th Infantry. Provisional Task Force A contained Company K of the 101st Infantry, engineers, the 602d Tank Destroyer Battalion (-), and the remainder of the 761st Tank Battalion (excepting its mortar, assault gun, and reconnaissance platoons, in reserve) , all under the command of Lt. Col. Peter J. Kopcsak, commander of the 602d Tank Destroyer Battalion.
On the first day, Company A's two platoons supported the 104th Infantry's attack and capture of Vic-sur-Seine; the remaining platoon of Company A supported infantry in taking Moyenvic. Company C, attached to the 328th Infantry, used its twelve tanks in the assault on Bezange-la-Petite and a hill to the southeast. On 9 November, in the season's first snowstorm, the two platoons of Company A supported the 104th Infantry, which attacked and took Chateau-Salins after four hours of fighting. Company A then turned east toward Morville-les-Vic. The remainder of the battalion in Task Force
A, with infantry mounted on its tanks, was then approaching Morville. Two platoons of Company D, with two companies of the 3d Battalion, 101st Infantry, took positions south of Salival, a small town from which enemy machine gun fire enfiladed the western slope of Hill 310 (Cote St. Jean) , the 26th Division's main objective for the day. Company D shelled the town and set it afire. Infantry, at dusk, entered Salival and passed through the woods beyond.
At Morville-les-Vic, where heavy enemy mortar and artillery fire was encountered, tanks of Company B shelled the town. When they attempted to pass through, roadblocks and bazooka fire stopped the tanks. The lead tank, knocked out, blocked the narrow main road, halting the tank column. Infantry cleared the town in house-to-house fighting. In the meantime, Company C seized high ground to the northwest of Morville and held until infantry took over, while Company D, moving to the left flank from Salival to screen the attack, broke up a German counterattack. Company C, moving down from its high ground toward Morville, ran into a tank trap running from woods at the edge of the high ground to a road leading through Morville. Beyond the tank ditch were camouflaged pill boxes, by now further concealed by new-fallen snow. Company C lost nine enlisted men and one officer killed and seven tanks-four recoverable-in the action along the tank trap. Despite low visibility caused by the weather, the battalion's assault gun platoon, aided by the observations of artillery liaison planes, completed its firing missions, securing direct hits on an enemy armored vehicle and four trucks. Task Force A, finally getting seven tanks through Morville, went on toward Hampont, the tanks assisting the infantry in gaining a foothold in the Bois de Geline to the northeast.

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