We depart from the German shelters in the quarry of Apremont, and we continue to the Butte de Montsec, centrepoint of the St. Mihiel Salient,
to end at Regniéville near Thiaucourt.
We try to follow one of the movements of the American Division and
(the later) General Patton in 1918.
Since 1914 the Germans fortified the Salient with trenches, barbed wire, and many bunkers.
The hillsides of Montsec was made into a huge fortress
with many tunnels, barbed wire networks,
and machine gun bunkers, like this one.
On 12 September 1918 the American General Pershing deployed an offensive with his 1st American Army in combination with the French 2nd Colonial Corps. More than 500.000 American troops were supported by 110.000 French Colonial Troops. Pershing and Col. Marshall organised an overwhelming force to squeeze out from both flanks the Germans out the Salient.
The offensive opened with an artillery bombardment of 4 hours with almost 3000 guns. After the bombardment, at 05.00 hrs. American soldiers in French Renault tanks and 1500 low flying airplanes opened the ground assault. Within 36 hours the American tanks and infantry eradicated the Germans.
Commander of the American manned Tank Corps was George Patton, the later famous General of the Second World War.
The US V Corps and the US I and IV Corps would meet on 13 september near Hattonchattel and Thiaucourt at Regniéville. The Americans had between 7000 and 8000 casualties. The Germans lost 20.000 men and 460 guns.
A view from the north east side of the Butte de Montsec, ...
... with the huge American Monument to commemorate
the recapture of the St. Mihiel Salient in 1918.
The circular collonade on top of the Butte de Montsec.
On the inside inscriptions to commemorate
the heroic acts of French and American Army Corpses.
A view from the monument westward,
into the direction of St. Mihiel.
Notice the golfball pattern on the surface of the grass; shellholes.
Inside the monument,
on a stone plinth is a bronze relief map of the St. Mihiel Salient.
A detail of this relief map.
A view from the Monument to the north east.
In the Second World War, in 1944, General Patton was forced
to recapture the Butte de Montsec again.
This time, in 1944, it took General Patton 9 days
to accomplish his task again!
A last view from the monument,
southeastward in the direction of Regniéville.
We follow the traces of the American Army along the D 907
through Flirey, where we find two memorials facing
each other across the road:
A French monument to commemorate
the French 163th Infantry Regiment, ...
... and an Franco-American memorial symbolising the victory of ...
... "Poilu" and "Doughboy".
To the left, along the D 904, we detect this demarcation stone, "George Washington", dedicated to the 2nd American Division.
West of Thiaucourt, at the crossing of the D 67 and the D 904,
the spot of the destroyed, not longer exisiting,
village of Regniéville, we find these 3 memorials:
A demarcation stone, marking the end of the Salient.
A French Monument to commemorate
the 302nd Infantry Regiment, defending this sector in 1915-1916.
A demarcation obelisk with a red diamond sign commemorating the US 5th Infantry Division,
which has been active here in 1918 and as well in 1944.
Near this place we enter the woods for the relics of
the destroyed village of Rémenauville.....
Continue to the next chapter: