DOUBS RIVER AND
|Our advance continued past Louhans; past Arbois,
where Louis Pasteur experimented; past Avenne, and swept to the Doubs River near Besancon.
The 36th Reconnaissance Troop, feeling out the river bank found all bridges blown, but
located one only half destroyed. Doughs were sent over to secure the far side, while 111th
Engineers immediately went to work. In 22 hours, engineers fashioned a 120-foot span to
the other bank as steady autumn rains began to fall. Troops and armor moved across the
completed bridge, forging onto the natural retreat route of the Germans heading from
southwestern France to Belfort Gap. Nearly a thousand prisoners were taken in the first
days action. In the Besancon area, the 143rd RCT captured a fuel dump containing
700,000 litres of 80-90 octane gasoline and 4,000 gallons of alcohol.
Pressing north to Vesoul, an enemy force of some strength was met
first at Oiselay-et-Grachaux by the 143rd and then just beyond Fretigney on September 10.
Fighting advance guard actions, by daylight of September 11 the 143rd had reached its
objective, the high ground overlooking Vesoul. The 141st on the right launched
a frontal assault at daybreak of September 12. The 143rd moved around its left flank,
sending strong blocking parties toward Port-sur-Saone while one battalion seized the
dominating heights overlooking Vesoul from its northern edge
|THE 111th ENGINEER BATTALION worked day and
night to complete this timber trestle bridge across the Doubs in 22 hours. Then tanks and
infantry poured across to continue the chase (below).
|At Vesoul the Germans tried hard to make a stand; there was
bitter house-to-house fighting.
||With the 1st and 3rd Battalions abreast, the 141st
attacked the town in conjunction with 3rd Division elements on its right. The 1st
Battalion on the left was hit by heavy artillery concentrations as it jumped off and the
Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. William A. Bird, was wounded. Reorganization delayed its
advance. The 3rd Battalion on the right pressed over a canal and into Vesoul to engage the
enemy in house-to-house fighting. After nine hours of stubborn battling, resistance was
overcome and the 141st moved into the town.
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