The Distinguished Unit Citation for

 

1st Battalion, 399th Infantry Regiment

 

is authorized by War Department General Order 103-46

The 1st Battalion, 399th Infantry Regiment, is cited for outstanding performance in combat during the period 16 November 1944 to 17 November 1944, near Raon l'Etape, France. Overlooking the important Meurthe River city of Raon l'Etape, In the thickly forested foothills of the Vosges Mountains, is a bill-mass known as the Tête des Reclos. This high ground, affording perfect enemy observation, barred an assault upon the vital communications city. On the rainy morning of 16 November, the 1st Battalion launched an attack to clear the enemy from these strongly fortified bill positions. Fighting through the dense, pine forest under intense enemy artillery, mortar, machine gun and automatic-weapons fire, the 1st Battalion, after three hours of effort, drove across a trail circling the base of the hill-mass. A withering, 45 minute artillery preparation at this point proved ineffective against the deep, concrete- and log-covered enemy bunkers built into the side of the hills, and it soon became evident that basic infantry assault was the only feasible method for driving the enemy from their positions. In a fierce, close-in, small arms firefight, which increased in fury as they climbed the precipitous slopes, the 1st Battalion wormed its way toward the top of Hill 462.8, key to the enemy's defenses. Battling against fanatical enemy resistance, it finally reached the crest. Bitter, hand-to-hand fighting developed as the enemy hurled repeated counterattacks against the inspired infantrymen. Once, the 1st Battalion was driven from the hilltop, but rapidly regrouping, it regained its positions. At dark, the enemy finally withdrew, leaving the 1st Battalion in possession of high ground. Throughout, supplies bad to be hand carried up the steep slopes under continuous enemy fire. Only the teamwork, coordination, and determination of all elements in the heroic 1st Battalion made the success of this attack possible, opening the gateway through the Vosges Mountains to the Alsatian Plains beyond. (General Orders 206, Headquarters, 100th Infantry Division, 23 July 1945).

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