commanders rely on splendid positions to thwart the attacking Americans. St. Mihiel had been,
for them, a sorry example of such a hope. The best divisions of the Emperors still dangerous
army were thrown into the line just at that point. Opposite the 360th Infantry were large
elements of the 88th German, the 28th Kaisers favorites and the 109th German Divisions.
These units had been instructed that there would be no further retreating and their previous
records seemed to establish the fact that they knew how and possessed the strength to obey such
On Hill 243 there was considerable wire entanglements. At other points could be seen
only emplacements and fox holes. These fox holes were an extension on the defense system and
were every place. The enemy planned to spring from them at the last moment and throw back
The attack order to the brigade assigned the principal task the capture of the wooded
ridge referred to in a previous paragraph to the 360th Infantry. The 359th was on the right of
Colonel Prices regiment and was to attack with the main object of protecting the flank of the
The front of the regiment was purposely made narrow in order that it might be covered by
a four-ply barrage in addition to a concentration of gas, smoke and overhead machine gun fire.
The attack was to be accomplished in two phases. The first planned the reduction of
Hills 278 and 300 and the occupation of Ravine Cheline within two and one-half hours. A brief
halt would be made here while the regiment reformed. The second phase carried the attack to the
corps objective, the wooded heights. Both phases, of course, were to be completed by the end
of the first day, after which the division would be free to advance as far as it could.
The attack orders of the 360th specified that the third battalion would make the assault,
and Companies I and K were selected by Major Allen to form the first wave. These companies,
with L and M, a short distance in the rear, took up positions for the jump off just north of the
road leading northwest from Bantheville off the northeast corner of the woods by that name. The
regimental machine gun company under Captain William B. Thompson was where it could be
found at any phase of any attack in which the regiment participated attached to the assault
The second battalion, in support, and the first battalion, in reserve, were in the Bois de
Bantheville and in the sunken roads east of the wood.
These were the dispositions completed on the night of October 31.
That such a concentration could be accomplished without the enemy suspecting, if not
actually learning some of the details of the plan, is quite inconceivable. So the heavy artillery
fire he directed against the entire regimental sector a few hours before the American
bombardment was slated to open up 3:30 a. m. was the hour for the friendly fire was not
entirely unexpected. But good protection was not available and heavy casualties were suffered
while waiting for the zero hour. Huge quantities of thermite it almost seemed to be liquid fire
at the time were showered upon the three battalions. At 1:30 oclock the enemys fire had