IV. Northern France

While the Falaise gap was being closed, American armored columns of the Third Army were making history with their broad sweep to the south, taking Le Mans, Tours, Orleans, and Chartres. From there they pushed on to the Seine in two spearheads, one crossing the river north of Paris and the other south of Paris. Meanwhile, French Forces of the Interior arose and after four days of bitter fighting with the German garrison in Paris announced that they held the major portion of the city.

On August 24-25 the 745th, moving as a battalion, made the longest road march in its combat history by moving 156 miles in 26 hours from La Sauvergere, northwest of La Ferte Mace, to Charmarande, northeast of Etampes and only 30 miles from Paris. Here the Battalion occupied the grounds of a beautiful chateau.

On the morning of August 27 the Battalion again broke up to form combat teams, Company "C" rejoining the 26th Infantry Regiment, Company "B" the 18th, and the rest of the Battalion moving with the 16th. Leaving the luxury of the Chateau Chamarande behind, the various combat teams moved on toward Paris, crossing the Seine River over a pontoon bridge at Ris Orangis- -about 15 miles from the heart of the city- -and headed east.

Moving through the suburbs of the great city, the men of the Battalion encountered the most tumultuous welcome any of them could ever expect to see. The long column of tanks and trucks was slowed to snail's pace by the overwhelming crowds. For miles the highway was a solid mass of wildly cheering, supremely happy people. Everone was there -- the young, the old, the middle-aged- -all of them trying to outdo the other in their welcome. This amazing ovation continued for many miles along the outskirts of the city; the shaking of hands, the tossing of fine grapes and plums into the vehicles, and the cries of "Vive l'Amerique" were everywhere. By the time the Battalion had reached its new position, all the vehicles were gaily bedecked with beautiful flowers, and the men were of the unanimous opinion that no sentiment on earth could have equalled that displayed by these newly-liberated people of Paris.

On August 28 two medium tanks and a platoon of lights went to the rescue of about 150 infantrymen who were trapped by several hundred Germans at Annet sur Marne. A display of firepower on the part of the tanks broke up this bit of resistance, and the doughboys were rescued. The Germans departed after the tanks had entered the battle but left 81 dead behind them as the result of a fast-moving fire fight.

As the Battalion began pushing eastward from Paris, there were ever increasing signs of World War I. On August 28 Lt. Earl E. McCain's assault gun platoon took up a position beside a monument marking the most advanced position of the German artillery under General Von Kluge in the Battle of the Marne in the last war.

On August 29 the Battalion moved on to the vicinity of Rosoy en Multain where the reconnaissance platoon captured 20 prisoners at Boullare and Betz while reconnoitering routes of advance.

51
Previous Page Next Page

Home

Email comments or problems to: comment@745tank.com