In the Saar-Moselle Triangle
|Saar-Moselle Triangle area (2014 map)|
As November ended, the 10th was fully engaged in the activities in what was known as the Saar-Moselle Triangle, an area in NW Germany/NE France bordered on the east by the Saar River, on the west by the Moselle, which formed the top of the triangle where they met. In the south it was bordered by the Siegfried defense line from Metz in the west to Saarbrucken in the east. This area will be the site of most of the 10th's action now and again following the Battle of the Bulge.
Patton's Third Army had been in the area since the 10th had landed at Cherbourg. They were then assigned to the Third Army to be part of the activity in this area.
The first of the 10th Armored had crossed into Germany on 19 Nov. Here, from a research report written after the war, is the past week's actions.
20 Nov- all three columns of CCB had crossed the German border. Some minor streams cut across the American front, and, with their bridges destroyed, were potential sources of delay and it was necessary for some elements of the Combat Command to assume defensive positions.
[Note: Co. B of the 80th Medical was pulled back to reserve at HQ then located at the town of Apach, about 11 miles west of Merzig.]
21 Nov- the north column of CCB received a heavy counterattack just west of BUDINGEN but it was repulsed with heavy loss to the enemy.
22 and 23 Nov- CCB was patrolling to the front to determine exact location of enemy positions.
26 Nov- CCB cleared the woods east of WALDWISSE and then entered the town of BETHINGEN. Although the town was taken by surprise, heavy enemy artillery concentrations soon necessitated a withdrawal. General PIBURN now had three columns within four miles of his objective, the bridge of MERZIG. The head of the northern column was just east of BUDINGEN with a good road leading into the city of LERZIG.
27 – 28 Nov- The Germans had realized the importance of the city of MERZIG, the key to the SAAR Valley, and had taken extreme care to block all avenues of approach. The terrain along with the soft subsoil afforded the defender an excellent position. The roads, the only avenues of approach for armor, were covered with numerous roadblocks, which made going extremely slow.
[Note: Co. B of the 80th Medical was returned to CCB on the 28th]
29 Nov- Both the northern and the center columns of CCB pushed to the built-up area of HILBRINGEN, only one mile west of the bridge in the afternoon
30 Nov- As the elements of CCB were preparing to complete their mission of seizing the bridge intact over the SAAR River at MERZIG, a terrific explosion shook the area. The Germans had blown the bridge just as the engineers reached it.
After Action Report
80th Medical Battalion
10th Armored Division
1 Nov – 30 Nov 1944
There were 33 officers and 364 enlisted men. During the month one of the battalion was killed and five wounded. Five replacements were assigned.
Company B, my Dad’s company, was assigned to Combat Command B from 1 – 20 Nov and 28 – 30 Nov. They were in Combat Command Reserve from 21 – 27 Nov.
At all three clearing stations of the battalion in November 1944 there were:
- 1962 admissions
- 319 were returned to duty
- 7 died in the stations
- 1581 were transferred and
- 55 remained in station on 30 Nov
a. In some operations dissemination of information in regard to the tactical employment of the combat units did not reach this headquarters. Direct distribution of field orders and G-3 reports to the medical battalion would aid in the future employment of the supporting medical companies.
b. That all medical companies be employed in each action. There is no useful purpose served by holding one entire company in reserve.
Fredrick D. Loomis