• UpThe FortressReal BitchDesignPlanArtillery"Sluggers"ArmorAssaultUnit Citation: 71st •   

The 71st Regiment attacked the Fortress with assault teams given the mission of setting explosive charges in entrances and ventilator shafts.  Flame throwers and smoke grenades were employed in driving out the enemy personnel to surrender or destruction.  Men of the 63rd Engineers were incorporated into the assault. Assigned to 1st Battalion were the capture Forts One, Two, Five, Seven and Eight. The 2nd Battalion were Forts Nine and Ten and to the 3rd, Forts Three, Four and Six.

On December 16, infantry, engineers and supporting tanks clambered through the mine-fields and machine gun fire to the thick walls of Simserhof.  There, satchel charges, TNT, flame-throwers, hand placing explosives, digging and even welding were employed by engineers.  Exit routes were sealed, the defenders defeated and the Fortress no longer block the advance. Then the doors and apertures were blown and underground shafts sealed, remaining the turrets wrecked and emplaced guns damaged beyond further usefulness.

The final mission of battle was the capture of an associated observation post at Freundberg Ferme, a location with an extensive field of observation. The observation post consisted of a steel dome twelve inches thick that was six feet high and four feet in diameter. The walls contained four apertures four to six inch in size. Mission accomplished on December 18, 1944.

The 44th held this line until December 23, when relieved by the 100th Infantry Division.  Events in the north demanded shifting to a defensive posture.

Current Photograph Simserhof Fort 7
Current Photograph Simserhof Fort 7 130mm twin turret
44th Infantry artillery set oil on fire near Bitche 1944 Maginot

Arty sets oil on fire near Bitche

Below, a hand drawn recon map of Fort Nine drawn from pre assault recon information

Hand drawn recon map Fort Nine 44th Infantry

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