Creation for the Scenario Design Competition at the Few Good Men...

Creation: Fort Villey-Le Sec (CMBN)

Date: September 7, 1944


Overview: In the Moselle salient, the 3rd Parachute Replacement Regiment held an outpost line barring the western approaches to Nancy. This German position lay about ten miles west of that strategic city, running north and south across the narrow tip of the Moselle tongue and anchored at the flanks by two old French forts which had once formed a part of the Toul fortress system. The northernmost work, at Gondreville, fell to the 3rd Battalion of the 319th on 5 September, the day on which the battalion began to wedge its way into the river salient. But Fort Villey-le Sec, occupying the high ground on the southern flank, was stubbornly defended by a full battalion of the 3rd Parachute and proved tough to crack. The fort was surrounded by a deep, dry moat faced with stone. The inner works had reinforced concrete walls and ceilings, five feet thick, and steel cupolas housing automatic weapons and at least one 75-mm. gun. In the woods surrounding the fort the Germans had dug in machine guns, strung wire, and emplaced a few artillery pieces. A preliminary attack on 6 September reached the fort but was broken up by cross fire from the German machine gun emplacements in the woods to the south. Company K led off a co-ordinated assault on the next day, accompanied by tanks and supported by fire from two towed tank destroyers. Lt. Col. Elliott B. Cheston, commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, led his men up to the moat, firing tracers from his submachine gun to designate targets for the tanks. At the edge of the moat the infantry tried to force an entry, while the tanks beside them fired at the enemy embrasures. But the American assault failed to cross the moat: the tanks were forced to withdraw in the face of heavy antitank fire, and the infantry were beaten back by automatic fire and hand grenades pitched out of the port holes. Fort Villey-le Sec finally was occupied on 10 September when the German garrison withdrew toward Nancy.



Fort Villey-Le Sec 1944