Operation METZ 2
6-9 January 1945
The first job of the new year was rather sloppy and unsatisfying. It was a cover job called METZ-2 (6-9 January 1945). The Battle of the Bulge was still taking all available American divisions. In fact the bottom of the barrel had been reached and General Patton was demanding some of the staves. In METZ-2, the 23rd’s mission was to protect the opening left by the removal of one of those staves.
The 90th Infantry, a veteran Normandy outfit, was holding the Saar line east of Thionville. It was needed for the American drive against the Nazi bulge at Bastogne. The 94th Infantry was rushing over from Lorient to take its place but it took like it would be a little late. The 23rd’s mission as to "hold" (by spoof radio alone) the 90th in its old location until the 94th was securely in position – and also to bring the "90th" south to a reserve area in Metz.
Eleven 23rd radios replaced the existing 90th network for three to 18 hours but there was no message traffic and only the most infrequent call-ups. It is doubtful if the hard-pressed German Signal Intelligence was able or willing to allot receivers to these practically inoperable nets. It was an unremunerative use of radios for deception.
In Metz the rest of the command set up the normal SOP on division special effects. Shoulders, bumpers and signs advertised the presence of the 90th throughout the area. It was very cold and the roads were slick with packed snow but 23rd men and vehicles were kept out of doors during most of the daylight hours. No sonic, dummies or radio were used in Metz. In spite of the fact that one 90th Regiment had pulled out without obliterating its identity, the 12th Army Group G-2 spotlighted the secret move as a model and called it a complete success. The 90th did do a splendid job in the Bulge (It cut off an entire Nazi paratroop regiment on the first day). But the 23rd hesitates to take much credit for it.
As soon as METZ-2 was completed, 23rd deception machinery was set in motion to do the same job for the 94th Infantry Division, which was going to be relieved by the Bulge-tired 26th. By the time the 94th network was taken over by the 23rd radios, however, the situation had become less critical and METZ-3 was called off.