Navigation bar
  Home View PDF document Start Previous page
 11 of 22 
Next page End 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16  

THE next morning the 3rd Battalion, 357th Infantry, when it passed through the lines to begin the
exploitation, encountered the 106th Reserve Regiment, first-class Saxon troops.  It appears that this
regiment was the advance-guard of the 123d Division, which had been in reserve but was moving
forward to counter- attack.  According to the German official report of the St. Mihiel operations, “The
most advanced regiment of the 123d Division, which was already at Onville at 4:15 A. M., was sent to
La Grange-en-Haye Farm at 5:45 A. M., therefore before the attack”; and “At 8:15 A. M. the
commanding general gave permission to advance the foremost regiment of the 123d Division to the
cross-roads two kilometers southwest of Preny and to send the rest of the division forward to Grange-en-
Haye Farm” At 11 A. M. this division was ordered to make a counter-attack against the American right
flank in the direction of Viéville-en-Haye.
The action of the 3d Battalion played a big part in frustrating this counter-attack.  As the 123d
Division became involved in the general defense, it was unable to launch its counter-attack in full force,
although a slight attack was made the night of September 13 on the 5th Division front.  The artillery
supporting the 90th Division put down a barrage in front of the 5th Division sector, and helped break up
this threatened danger.
From the statement of prisoners that it was the mission of the 106th Reserve Regiment to hold
the narrow-gauge railway through St. Marie Farm at all costs, it appears that this regiment was covering
the advance of the other elements of  the division.  The resistance which the Saxons offered to the
advance of the 3d Battalion through the Vencheres forest was very bitter, and by nightfall the battalion
had progressed only about 1500 meters, digging in along the narrow-gauge railway that runs through the
forest from northwest to southeast.  Throughout the night their positions were harassed by machine gun
concentrations.  The Americans replied, and the piles of German dead revealed in advance of the 3d
Battalion’s position the next morning bore gruesome witness to the accuracy of their fire.
Major John M. True, commanding the 3d Battalion, had received his promotion to lieutenant-
colonel just before September 12, but he put the notice in his pocket and told no one about it until after
the fighting, as he feared he might not have the chance to lead his battalion were his promotion known.
The 1st Battalion exploited for the 358th Infantry.  It passed through the 2d and 3d Battalions,
which remained on the previous day’s objective, traversed the Vilcey-sur-Trey valley, drawing hardly a
hostile shot, and entered the Vencheres forest.  Only slight resistance was encountered.  A few prisoners
were captured.  Major Dan Morgan Smith brought his men back for supper that night at the south edge
of Vencheres, 1500 meters west of Vilcey-sur-Trey.  During the night the battalion worked its way back
through the woods to the St. Marie valley.  The morning of the 14th was spent in organizing for defense
the edge of the Vencheres woods overlooking this valley.
Previous page Top Next page