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Operation Flaxweiler

Three soldiers crouched near a fire with snow on the ground

Three soldiers warming up on a snowy day. From the collection of Irving Mayer.

Objectively, this operation was to draw enemy attention to the Flaxweiler area. It was thus planned to divert the enemy from an attack by XII Corps. This offensive was to come from the north in the vicinity of Dickinson.

To attract the enemy, the 2nd Cavalry simulated preparations for a river crossing on the Moselle and an attack. This was done by increased patrolling movement of tanks, visible reconnaissance parties, increased artillery fire and smoke, and a display of bridging equipment and boats.

On the east bank of the Moselle, the Germans were on the defensive.

Heater’s mission was to abet the diversion with the use of its sonic devices. The first platoon was to act as the security for recorders of war.

Arriving in the Flaxweiler area, the convoy drove through the 2nd Cavalry positions to approximately fifteen hundred yards from the Moselle. Just about midnight, the first tunes of tanks moving into an assembly area were wafted toward the enemy shore.

The night was cold and clear. On the ground there were several inches of snow. As the speakers blared forth rumbling noise and the artillery roared overhead, the men tried to keep warm and wished the curtain would ring down on this nocturnal symphony. It was a damn cold guard.

For those that saw it, one incident of the night added a little comic relief to the dragging hours. Upon inspecting one of the Heater vehicles, Col. Reeder found that the sonic men had brought along mattresses and various other comforts of home.

He immediately cast the bedding into the roadside snow and proceeded to examine the rest of the Heater convoy. Down the line he went, flinging mattresses and pillows all over the road.

Of course the engineers, who carried only their bed rolls, had no such embarrassing moments.

Around three in the morning the final sonic cord was struck, the guards were called in and the trucks headed back for Briey. Breakfast was just being served when the convoy rolled in. Most of the men did not even bother to chow but hit the ole sack where, after a few hours they managed to thaw out.

Operation Flaxweiler evidently achieved some success because the Germans gave the sector a going over with their artillery for a few days.

Routine at Briey was similar to that of Luxembourg, except that the cold weather and the distance between camp and the neighboring towns discouraged all but the most rugged when the winter got tough. Besides Homecourt, the men discovered that the town of Froidcut had a few things of interest, mostly women. Incidentally, the pronunciation of this name caused many a G. I. to gape when he first heard it.

Winter seemed at its height when the outfit was notified of the alert for Operation Landonvillers.

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