Company E, 141st Inf.
A few years ago an
article in the T-PATCHER indicated that the village of
Sauvagney (near Bescancon) had erected a monument to two
soldiers killed in the liberation of their village. At the
same time there were requests that anyone remembering the two
soldiers or the battle at Sauvagney, contact Mr. Ducret,
former mayor of the village. The soldiers were identified as
privates Morgan and Kriener of Co. E, 141st Inf.
|My memories of
fighting around Bescanson were vague as were those of Col.
Critchfield. I remember crossing a river on a narrow dam, the
top of which was ten inches below the water level. Eventually,
someone gave Mr. Ducret my name as commander of E Company
during the period and we exchanged several letters--one
containing material obtained from the U.S. National Archives
in Baltimore which indicated that E-Company had been directed
to proceed to several villages, one of which was Sauvagney.
indicated to Mr. Ducret that to him Sauvagney was the most
important village in the world, but to us it was one of
hundreds we liberated during the war.
When he discovered my
wife was originally French, he encouraged me to stop by
Sauvagney on the next trip to France hoping seeing Sauvagney
would jog my memory So this January when we decided to visit
France again, I informed Mr. Ducret that if the traffic
allowed we would arrive at noon on the 27th of January at
I was within 10 km of
our destination and missed the route and by the time I
relocated myself I arrived at Sauvagney at 1300 hours. (French
lunch time). They had prepared lunch for us - a typical French
lunch when you are having guests. The first two courses were
accompanied by two different white wines from Alsace. Before
the main course, Mr. Ducret brought out a 1952 wine from
Algeria. With the main course we drank a 1988 Bordeaux, aged
about right for good wine.
At 4:00 Mr. Ducret
and I visited his father's farm where the two soldiers were
killed. He showed me where my soldiers were, where the machine
guns were located and the 60mm mortars. This did nothing for
my memory - in fact his location for the mortars seemed
unsound tactically. After returning by way of the monument, we
returned to the table for dessert and champagne.
As we took our leave,
I told Mr. Ducret that I didn't remember my first visit to
Sauvagney, but I would not forget my last. What was especially
gratifying to me was to find a Frenchman whose appreciation
for the American effort was so genuine. For this reason I have
submitted his name to be an Associate member of the 36th
My reception was as
warm as Sauvagney's welcome for Ray Wells' group last Spring.