I have talked to a lot of people about my grandfather Charlie lately; to some folks around the world. Fortunately the unit he served with kept a journal about some of the battles he encountered as a soldier in WW2, which is great because I don’t need main stream social media to understand conflict, I have, and now those reading this do to, an insight into why it still continues.
778 Tank Battalion – Combat Infantry
95 INF DIVISION 94 DIVISION 26 INF DIVISION
For centuries the tug of war city for warring nations, Metz is a museum of fluctuating military history, a metropolis of battle structures, and a favorite meeting place for peace-time tourists the world over. It has long been a political problem child of France and Germany. Countless battles have been fought on the banks of the Moselle River near Metz, in the surrounding hills and forests, and in the nearby Saar Valley which points the way into Germany. Metz has known the legions of Julius Caesar, The hordes of Attila the Hun and the booted troopers of Kaiser Wilhelm II.
On the 14th of November the 778 Tank Battalion arrived at Briey, where most of the tanks changed their tracks and added flotation to the new tracks.
We were surprised by a visit from the Commanding General of the Third Army, General George S. Patton, and contact had been established with the 95th Infantry Division. As soon as the tracks were set we were on our way.
The following day we jumped off from the assembly point of Rhomlas. Each tank platoon of every company was attached to different Infantry Regiments and Battalions. This included the Assault Gun, Mortar and Reconnaissance Platoons.
The Moselle region was protected by an inner and outer ring of forts around Metz. Also Maginot Line Forts on both sides of the Moselle and Seille Rivers. These were all protected by a series of supporting bunkers, pillboxes, armored outposts, heavy reinforced casements, mine fields, and a trench system that extended around the Military Crest.
There were forty-three forts with 128 artillery pieces emplaced around Metz proper.
Many of the forts had steel and concrete tops buried under thick layers of earth, as well as disappearing guns. All of the bridges into Metz had been mined or destroyed. All types of troops had been rushed to the city to its fortifications, and the only escape gap to the east had been completely closed and was guarded by the Gestapo to insure that all the Germans remained to fight to the bitter end.