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 "Your Division Commander tells me he has a fine division and it's ready for combat. I have asked him to write me a letter two weeks after I commit you to battle and tell me if he still has a fine division."

General George S. Patton Jr., commander of the 3rd Army Corps

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2nd Battalion, 378th Infantry Regiment

  The accomplishments of the 2nd Bn 378th Infantry in the Thionville Moselle River crossing can best be summarized by its Distinguished Unit Citation as follows:

March 1945

  "The 2nd Battalion, 378th Infantry, in division reserve in the vicinity of Batilly, France, as the 95th Infantry Division initiated its operations against the fortified city of Metz, received orders at 1515, 19 November 1944, to move to Thionville, 22 miles to the north, in the 90th Infantry Division zone, force a crossing of the Moselle River, and reconnoiter for a possible bridge site here. The importance of this mission was stressed in the order from XX Corps. The corps plan for the encirclement of Metz had been jeopardized by inability to etablish a bridgehead across the flooded Moselle for the crossing of the 10th Armored Division. The battalion closed at Thionville at 0330 on 11 November 1944, but engineer assault boats for its crossing did not arrive until after daylight. At 0830 on 11 November 1944, the battalion sent its first assault wave across under the guns of Fort Yutz, which dominates the east bank of the Moselle. By dark, Company E and a platoon of Company F had captured the ground between the river and the canal that winds moat-fashion around the fort. The success of this operation caused a change in mission. The battalion was directed to seize a bridgehead, and bridging equipment was moved to Thionville during the night. Despite a continuous hail of artillery, mortar, and small-arms fire, the battalion was completely across the river by 0900, 12 November 1944, and was fighting inside Fort Yutz.

  The battle for the fort continued throughout the day and night, and the last of the battered German garrison surrendered at 1200, 13 November 1944. During the afternoon the battalion was completed its occupation of the town of Basse-Yutz and the bridge site was safe from direct fire. On the morning of 14 November the battalion turned south its effort to expand the bridgehead and to relieve the beleaguered 1st Battalion of the 377th Infantry, which had crossed the river at Uckange on 8 November and had been isolated by counter-attacking German armored vehicles and infantry. Haute-Yutz was captured during the morning, and during the afternoon the battalion pushed on to encircle Fort d'Illange, a modern fortification more formidable than Yutz. The commander of the German garrison declined to surrender, and during the afternoon the battalion began its assault across 2 broad bands of barbed wire, moats and heavy masonry walls.

  At 1130, 15 November, Fort d'Illange was officially reported captured. During the bitter fighting around the fort, the battalion commander, Lieutnant Colonel Autrey J. Maroun was severely wounded in the left arm but declined medical aid and accompanied his troops as they pushed on into the village of Illange where he received another wound which forced his evacuation.

  At 1430, 15 November 1944, the battalion now reinforced by the 95th Reconnaissance Troop and under command of Task Force Bacon, reached elements of the 1st Battalion, 377th Infantry at Imeldange. The German containing force, which by now had reduced the 1st Battalion, 377th Infantry to less than one-half effective strenght, was routed and driven to the south. Without pause the battalion continued to advance along the east bank of the Moselle River, spearheading the rapid advance of Task Force Bacon.

  During the five days of this action, the 2nd Battalion, 378th Infantry, engaged in itsfirst offensive operation and functioning until the last day as a separate command, forced a crossing of the flooded Moselle River, advanced more than three miles against a stubbornly resisting enemy, killed and estimated 300 Germans, captured 215 prisoners, reduced 2 major fortifications, and routed a large enemy force.

  During this period the battalion suffered more than 200 casualties. The desperate determination, great personal courage, and outstanding professional skill of the officers and the men of the 2nd Battalion, 378th Infantry, gained the bridgehead at Thionville, which made possible the successful execution of the XX Corps plan for the capture of the City of Metz. Their example is an inspiration to all members of ithis command."

By order of the Secretary of War, G.C. Marshall, Chief of Staff