United States Army in World War II European Theater of Operations

The Lorraine Campaign

by Hugh M. Cole

. . . to Those Who Served

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: The Halt at the Meuse

Troop Dispositions—Allied Strategy—Composition of the Third Army—The Pause in the Third Army Pursuit—The Military Topography of Lorraine—The Enemy Situation on the Western Front—Enemy Dispositions in the Moselle Sector—The Lull in Operations Comes to an End

Chapter 2: The XII Corps Crossing of the Moselle (5–30 September)

The XII Corps Plan—The Assault at Pont-à-Mousson—The 80th Infantry Division Advance East of Toul—The XII Corps Returns to the Attack—The XII Corps Crosses the Moselle South of Nancy—The XII Corps Crosses the Moselle North of Nancy—CCA, 4th Armored Division, Begins the Penetration—The Envelopment Southeast of Nancy Continues—Task Force Sebree Occupies Nancy—15 September—The Battle for the Dieulouard Bridgehead—The XII Corps Continues the Advance

Chapter 3: The XX Corps Crossing of the Moselle (6–24 September)

Preparations for the Moselle Crossing—The Enemy Situation—The XX Corps Advance to the Moselle—The Dornot Bridgehead—The Arnaville Bridgehead—The Fight to Expand the 5th Division Bridgehead—The Battle West of Metz—The Advance on the Left Wing of the XX Corps—Expanding the 5th Division Bridgehead—The 90th Infantry Division Attack West of Metz

Chapter 4: The XV Corps Advance (11–20 September)

The Situation on the Southern Flank of the Third Army—Hitler’s Plans for a Counteroffensive—The XV Corps Advance to the Moselle—The Advance to the Meurthe River

Chapter 5: The German Counterattack in the XII Corps Sector (19 September–1 October)

Plans for Employment of the Third Army—The Dispositions of the Fifth Panzer Army—The Attack at Lunéville, 18 September—The Arracourt Tank Battle, 19–22 September—The XV Corps Advance to La Vezouse River, 21–24 September—The Continuation of the Tank Battles, 24–29 September—The Forêt de Grémecy Battle

Chapter 6: The October Pause in Operations

The Initial Attacks on Fort Driant—The 90th Division at Maizières-lès-Metz—Operations on the North Wing of the XX Corps—Stabilizing the XII Corps Main Line of Resistance—The Quiet Phase—Plans for the Resumption of the Offensive—German Defensive Preparations, October and Early November 1944

Chapter 7: The XII Corps resumes the Offensive (8–17 November)

Plans for the November Offensive—The First Phase of the 26th Infantry Division Advance—The CCA Attack along the Valley of the Petite Seille—The Fight for the Koecking Ridge—Task Force Oden Attacks Guébling—The Attack by the XII Corps Center—The Drive Toward Morhange—The XII Corps Advance on the Left

Chapter 8: The November Battle for Metz

XX Corps Preparations for the November Offensive—The XX Corps Begins the November Offensive—The Uckange Bridgehead—The 90th Division Crossing in the Vicinity of Cattenom—The Enemy Situation North of Metz—The Continuation of the 90th Division Attack—The 90th Division Advance Continues—13 November—The Expansion of the 95th Division Bridgehead—The 10th Armored Division is Committed—The 90th Division Continues the Attack, 15 November

Chapter 9: The November Battle for Metz (concluded)

The Enemy Situation in the Metz Area—The 5th Division Begins the Southern Envelopment—The Enemy Situation in Metz—The 95th Division Attack West of the Moselle—The Attack by the 377th and 378th—Operations of Task Force Bacon, 15–22 November—The 5th Division Drive into Metz—The Capitulation of Metz

Chapter 10: The XII Corps drive toward the Sarre (18–30 November)

The 26th Division Attack at the Dieuze–Bénestroff Line—The Drive to the Honskirch–Altwiller Line—The 4th Armored Division Operations on the Sarre—The 35th and 6th Armored Divisions Advance Toward the Sarre—The 80th Division Attack in the Faulquemont Sector

Chapter 11: The XX Corps advance to the Sarre (19 November–3 December)

The First Attack on the Orscholz Switch Line—The XX Corps Preparations for the Attack Toward the Sarre River—The German Withdrawal East of Metz—The Advance to the Sarre by the 90th and 95th Divisions—The 95th Division Fight for the Sarre Crossing

Chapter 12: The XII Corps attack toward the West Wall (1–18 December)

The Fight for Sarre-Union—The XII Corps Left and Center Advance on Sarreguemines—The 4th Armored Division Drive from Domfessel to Singling—The Last Phase of the Advance Toward the West Wall

Chapter 13: The XX Corps Battle at the West Wall

The 95th Infantry Division Expansion of the Saarlautern Bridgehead—The 90th Infantry Division Crosses the Sarre—Operations on the South Flank of the XX Corps—The 95th Division Fight at the West Wall, 7–18 December—The 90th Division Fight at the West Wall Continues, 8–19 December

Chapter 14: Conclusion

Estimates by the Enemy—Losses Suffered by the Combatants—Supply—Morale Factors; Civilian Problems—Air-Ground Cooperation—Matériel—Characteristics of Operations

Appendix A: Third Army Staff Roster as of 1 September 1944

Bibliographical Note



I. Western Front, 1 September 1944

Ia. Seventh Army Front, 1 September 1944

II. The Battle Area

III. Lorraine

IV. Western Front, 5 September 1944

V. German Front, in North-eastern France, Evening, 5 September 1944

VI. Third Army Dispositions, Evening, 5 September 1944

VII. XII Corps Plan of Attack, 4 September 1944

VIII. XII Corps Right Wing, 10–21 September 1944

IX. Dieulouard Bridgehead, 12–16 September 1944

X. 4th Armored Division, 11–14 September 1944

XI. Attack of 22 September

XII. XX Corps, Situation, Noon, 6 September 1944

XIII. Advance on the Right, 7–13 September 1944

XIV. Battle West of Metz, 8–13 September 1944

XV. Advance on the Left, 7–13 September 1944

XVI. XX Corps Bridgehead, 13–25 September 1944

XVII. German Plan of Counterattack, 3–15 September 1944

XVIII. XV Corps Drive to the Vezouse River, 11–24 September 1944

XIX. LVIII Panzer Corps Attack, 19 September 1944

XX. LVIII Panzer Corps Attack, 25–29 September 1944

XXI. Forêt de Grémecey, 27–30 September 1944

XXII. Third Army Front, Evening, 25 September 1944

XXIII. Fort Driant

XXIV. Fight for Maizières-lès-Metz, 3–30 October 1944

XXV. 83rd Division, 25 September–11 October 1944

XXVI. XII Corps, Stabilization of MLR, 1–9 October 1944

XXVII. Advance in 26th Division Zone, 8–17 November 1944

XXVIII. Advance in 35th Division Zone, 8–15 November 1944

XXIX. Advance in 80th Division Zone, 8–16 November 1944

XXX. Battle for Metz, 90th Division Crosses the Moselle, 9–14 November 1944

XXXI. Battle for Metz, Envelopment from the North, 15–19 November 1944

XXXII. Battle for Metz, Envelopment from the South, 8–19 November 1944

XXXIII. Battle for Metz, Attack from the West, 14–19 November 1944

XXXIV. XII Corps, Attack West and East of the Sarre, Right Wing, 18–30 November 1944

XXXV. XII Corps, Operations West of the Sarre, Left Wing, 18–30 November 1944

XXXVI. First Attack on Orsholz Line, 21–27 November 1944

XXXVII. XX Corps Advance to the Saar River, 25 November–2 December 1944

XXXVIII. Third Army, the November Offensive, 8 November–2 December 1944

XXXIX. XII Corps, 1–20 December 1944

XL. Saarlautern Bridgehead, 3–19 December 1944

XLI. Dillingen–Pachten Bridgehead, 6–19 December 1944

XLII. Third Army, Last Phase of Lorraine Offensive, 3–19 December 1944

XLIII. Western Front, 20 December 1944

Inline Maps

1. Situation in Europe, 1 September 1944

2. 80th Division, 5–10 September 1944

3. Dornot Bridgehead, 8 September 1944

4. The Fight for Pournoy and Sillegny, 18–20 September 1944

5. CCA, 4th Armored Division, 20 September 1944

6. 111th Panzer Brigade Attack, 22 September 1944

7. XII Corps Front, Morning, 8 November 1944


General Patton and His Chief of Staff—American Commanders—German Generals Opposing Third Army: General der Panzertruppen Hasso von Manteuffel, Generaloberst Johannes Blaskowitz, General der Panzertruppen Otto von Knobelsdorff, General der Panzertruppen Hermann Balck—Maj. Gen. Manton S. Eddy—Frontal Attack across the Moselle—Fort Villey-le Sec—Tank Crossing Canal Near Bayon—American Tank Damaged by German Fire—Long Tom Mounted on Sherman Tank Chassis—Dieulouard Bridgehead Area—Crossing Canal Near Dombasle—Loisy—Mousson Hill Area—Forêt de Champenoux—American Troops Enter Forêt de Champenoux—Maj. Gen. Walton H. Walker—River Crossing at Dornot—Dornot Bridgehead—Arnaville Crossing—Gravelotte Draw—Sillegny—Bois de Fêves Ridge—Maj. Gen. Wade H. Haislip—Maj. Gen. Jacques Leclerc.—Dompaire—Fort Driant—Bombing of Fort Driant—Patton Confers with Eisenhower—Maizières-lès-Metz (Map XXIV)—American Infantryman in Maizières-lès-Metz—Marlene Dietrich—Maintenance Work in Muddy Fields—“Radio th’ ol’ man we’ll be late”—Bombing of Etang de Lindre Dam—Côte St . Jean—Task Force Oden Leaving Château-Salins—Rodalbe—Guébling—Wounded Soldier Helped to Aid Station—Task Force Churchill Crossing the Seille River—Prisoners Being Marched to the Rear—River Crossing at Port-sur-Seille—Han-sur-Nied—Tanks Impeded by Mud—Transportation of Bridging Equipment—Tanks Awaiting Signal to Cross Moselle—Engineers Working in Chill Waters—Distroff—Supply Roads Flooded by the Moselle—Entering the Outskirts of Metz—Men of the 5th Infantry Division Enter Metz—Fort Plappeville—Jeeps Driving through Dieuze—Antitank Ditch West of Bertring—Keeping Warm and Dry—Farebersviller—Tettingen–Butzdorf—St. Barbara—Saarlautern—Tanks and Armored Infantry—Tough Fight in Habkirchen—Fraulautern—Pachten—Dillingen—Ensdorf—Slaughterhouse Area in Dillingen—Vehicular Treadway Ferry

Illustrations are from the following sources:

U.S. Army Photos, pages: 14, 19, 59, 64, 73, 74, 76, 92, 113, 133, 136, 147, 186, 188, 267, 268, 279, 291, 292, 327, 341, 343, 347, 356, 364, 378, 383, 392, 424, 439, 445, 448, 455, 474, 481, 523, 545, 585.

U.S. Air Force Photos, pages: 67, 82, 98, 101, 110, 138, 155, 173, 179, 200, 265, 277, 297, 321, 329, 334, 360, 411, 484, 494, 507, 516, 555, 562, 564, 573, 580.

Captured German Photo, page: 44.

United Features Syndicate, Inc., page: 294.

Center of Military History, United States Army

Washington, D.C., 1997

United States Army in World War II

Kent Roberts Greenfield, General Editor

Advisory Committee

James E Baxter, President, Williams College

William T. Hutchinson, University of Chicago

Henry S. Commager, Columbia University

S. L. A. Marshall, Detroit News

Douglas S. Freeman, Richmond News Leader

E. Dwight Salmon, Amherst College

Pendleton Herring, Social Science Research Council

Col. Thomas D. Stamps, United States Military Academy

John D. Hicks, University of California

Charles H. Taylor, Harvard University

Walter L. Wright*, Princeton University

Historical Division, SSUSA

Maj. Gen. Orlando Ward, Chief†

Chief Historian, Kent Roberts Greenfield

Chief, World War II Group, Col. Allison R. Hartman

Editor-in-Chief, Hugh Corbett

Chief Cartographer, Wsevolod Aglaimoff

* Deceased 16 May 1949.

† Maj. Gen. Harry J. Malony was succeeded by General Ward on 1 April 1949.