DIFFICULTIES IN CENTER OF SECTOR
THE 3d Battalion, 358th Infantry seemed doomed to hard luck from the very start. While moving up to
its jump-off positions it was caught in enemy artillery fire and somewhat scattered. Just before zero
hour the battalion commander, Major Terry Allen, was wounded by shrapnel and taken to an aid station,
the command passing to Captain Donald Gallagher. The story of Major Allens adventures that day
sounds like romance. He had been stunned by the explosion of the shell which wounded him, but on
coming to he tore off the first-aid tag and rushed back in the direction of the fighting. En route, he
rounded up small groups of men who had become separated from their unit, and while marching forward
reached a small wood just in time to find some enemy machine gunners coming out of their deep holes
to set up their guns and fire on our second wave. These men had been passed over by the assaulting
line. Closing in with his small command, Major Allen engaged the machine gunners in hand-to-hand
combat. After exhausting all the ammunition for his automatic pistol, he continued fighting with his
fists until again badly wounded. In this m
lée Major Allen had come into possession of a German
soldiers identification tag, which he dropped into his pocket.
In hurrying forward to catch up with the leading wave, he met a detachment of the 357th
Infantry, who, not knowing Major Allen, were inclined to suspect him. Like the other officers, he had
gone into the fray without any tell-tale insignia of rank; in the desperate encounter through which he had
just passed his face had been covered with blood, some of his teeth knocked out, and his clothes torn.
These circumstances, taken in connection with the presence of the Boche identity plate in his pocket,
caused his detention until he was identified. Major Allen was then evacuated on account of his wounds.
Lieutenant Royal C. Harrington, Major Allens adjutant, was so badly wounded by shell fire
before H hour that he died two days later. Lieutenant Thomas J. Powell, Company I, was killed by a
machine gun bullet during the morning.
The advance of the 3d Battalion was retarded by the difficult terrain, which was highly organized
by the enemy, crossed iron gratings between the trees being a part of the defense scheme. While the
battalion was slowly fighting its way up the wooded valley in the Bois de Friere, the 357th Infantry, on
the left, and the 2d Battalion, 358th Infantry, on the right, had passed beyond it. The seriousness of the
action here will he realized from the fact that only five out of the twelve officers who started with the
battalion remained to consolidate the dearly won position.
During the advance along the hillsides and up the valley, men of the 1st Battalion in support
became mixed with those of the 3d Battalion. Captain George B. Danenhour, commanding Company B,
with characteristic aggressiveness and fearlessness, worked his company up the ravine to Jaillard Mill,
arriving at the objective before the bulk of the 3d Battalion was up. As he still yearned for other fields
to conquer, Captain Danenhour, accompanied by Captain Sim C. Souther, Company M, decided to mop
up Vilcey-sur-Trey before nightfall. But this feat proved more difficult than was anticipated, and the
advancing American scouts were stopped about 8oo meters west of the town. There being no other
shelter available, Captain Danenhour was forced to take refuge in the stream which trickled down the
valley and to remain practically submerged in the cold water for hours. Early the next morning 2d
Battalion scouts entered Vilcey from the south and were astonished to find twenty-six French civilians
still in the town.
The 2nd Battalion, 358th Infantry, suffered heaviest in crossing the wire before getting at grips
with the Boches. During the first hour of fighting, Major Ike Ashburn, battalion commander, was
wounded in the neck by a machine gun bullet and taken to the rear unconscious, and two company