443rd AAA Bn in World War II

RHINELAND CAMPAIGN

LES ROUGES - EAUX VALLEY OPERATION

In a final drive up the Les Rouges-Eaux Valley to get to the Vosges mountain passes, Platoon D-l on 5 November, in support of the 143rd Regiment, blew up an enemy ammunition dump. But the operation began to take on the aspects of the Italian winter campaign, with rain, slush and mud and eventually, cold and snow. Storms limited visibility and enemy mines slowed forward movement up the valley among the heavily forested hills of the Foret Dominiale-du-Champs. Platoon D-2 fired harassing fire on enemy positions just northeast of Herplemont as a weather-induced stalemate settled in.

Then on 12 November, 443rd Batteries A, B, C, and D each assigned two gun sections to support a division attack on 14th November. Initial objectives were taken without serious opposition. A mine explosion injured three men of Platoon D-2 but the Germans began retreating toward their strong defensive line along the Meurthe River. They began burning villages as they withdrew forcing hundreds of homeless French civilians to flee. The enemy also razed all buildings on the 36th Division side of the Meurthe River, leaving no concealment or protection for American troops.

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