Fort Driant 1944





The situation is critical. A couple more barrages and another counterattack [by the Germans] and we are sunk. . . . We cannot advance. We may be able to hold till dark but if anything happens this afternoon I can make no predictions. The enemy artillery is butchering these troops. . . . We cannot get out to get our wounded and there is a hell of a lot of dead and missing. . . . There is only one answer. . . . First either to withdraw and saturate it with heavy bombers or reinforce with a hell of a strong force, but eventually they’ll get it by artillery too. . . . This is just a suggestion but if we want this damned fort let’s get the stuff required to take it and then go. (Report to his battalion commander, Fort Driant, Lorraine, October 5, 1944; from The Lorraine Campaign, by Hugh M. Cole.)

Jack Gerrie was captain and commanding officer of G Company, 11th Infantry, of the U.S. Third Army. His company was sent in to reinforce American troops trying to take Fort Driant in French Lorraine.

Reflecting Bradley’s demands for renewed efforts to rupture the German defenses, Patton launched a major attack against Metz south of the Ardennes. Third Army had attempted to take Metz by a coup de main in September. American troops had actually stormed onto the top of Fort Driant, a major fortress guarding the city, but German defenders had fought tenaciously within the fort and called down heavy artillery fire on themselves. Over the night of 12–13 October, the Americans had abandoned their foothold on the fortress, while Patton reconsidered how to take the city. Third Army resumed its attack on 8 November.



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