A series following the story of my father in World War II 75 years ago. He was in Europe with the 10th Armored Division's 80th Armored Medical Battalion.This updates the series Following the 10th Armored that I did five years ago.

#35- Entering the Battle

    ◆    75 Years Ago
    ◆    2 November 1944
The 10th Armored Division officially joined the front line forces.

The 10th Armored and attached troops have now been on the Cotentin Peninsula for a month. They have trained, planned, waited, and watched the weather. The troops were no less frustrated than Patton himself was. They were in Europe, but not yet in the war.

As October ended it became time to move.

The 80th Armored Medical Battalion, Company C, consisted of 18 officers and 104 enlisted men.

    ✓    Company C Morning Reports- Record of Events
    ✓    26 October- Departed bivouac area 2.1 mi NW of Quettehou [at] 0405. Traveled 127.2 mi via motor convoy to bivouac 1 mi east of Falaise arrived 1715. (MR)
[13 hours travel. 9.8 mph]
    ✓    27 October- Convoy left bivouac area 1 mi east Falaise [at] 0905. Traveled 74.7 mi to bivouac area 1/2 mi east of Damville. Closed bivouac 1830 (MR)
[9 1/2 hours travel. 7.9 mph]
      • Charles M. Province in the book Patton’s Third Army, reports that During this week the “10th Armored continued to move toward the XX Corps assembly area."
    ✓    28 October- Departed area 1/2 mi east of Damville at 0906. Motor convoy arrived at bivouac sire 1/2 mi west of Claye Souilly at 1725. Traveled 83.4 mi  (MR)
[8 1/2 hours travel. 9.9 mph. Co.C most likely passed around or through Paris on this day.]
    ✓    29 October- Departed area 1/2 mi west of Claye Souilly at 0907. Motor convoyed 69.2 mi to bivouac 1 1/2 mi east of Bar Le Duc. Closed bivouac 1632. (MR)
[7 1/2 hours travel. 9.2 mph]
    ✓    30 October- Left Bivouac vicinity of Ba Le Duc 0907. Traveled via motor convoy 98 mi. Billeted company in village of Lachaussee.  Arrived 1700. (MR)
[8 hours travel. 12.3 mph]
They have traveled 452 miles in 5 days, on the road for 46.5 hrs, with an average speed of 9.7 mph. Today that trip could be made in 8 1/2 hours (with tolls).

    ✓    31 October- Set up clearing station and evacuated patients. (MR)
They were assigned to the Reserve Combat Command (CC R) and were located 8 miles south of the 10th's Division HQ at Mars Le Tour and about 20 miles southwest of the fortress city of Metz where they would soon be engaged in their first battle.

They were bivouacked in an area that was unfortunately too small for movement. Then it rained and rained  providing a very muddy, but relatively quiet few days. Nichols in Impact says that it was perhaps the worst bivouac area of war for them. Their purpose was to assist XX Corps in the containment of enemy troops in preparation for the attack on Metz. They were to move around behind the forts and cut off the retreating enemy.

The 10th was to fall into line, one-by-one behind the 90th Infantry then move through providing support and cover. From all that was reported, it was not particularly  good geography (or weather) for the tanks, but the 10th managed and found its place.

This was part of what Province in Patton's Third Army says was the continuing practice of rotating and regrouping Third Army units in contact with the Germans. It had two purposes. One was to give as much rest as possible to those troops in extended contact with the Germans for the greatest amount of time. The other was to keep the enemy guessing as to the plans of the Third Army.

When November and time for the battle around Metz came, the XX Corps (part of the Third Army) under General Walton H. Walker had a total of 30 infantry battalions, 500 tanks, and more than 700 guns. Their  plan had two phases. One was to destroy all German forces around Metz and then to switch the advance to the northeast to catch the enemy as they pulled out of Metz.

On November 2, 1944, the 10th was pulled into place and had their first awareness of combat. It was a generally quiet area and not much else was to happen for the next two weeks, but the enemy had been engaged for the first time.

War was now a reality.

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