French forces slashing northward through Alsace by-passed Mulhouse and Colmar and stabbed into Strasbourg, Swiss Radio reported last night. Meanwhile, U.S. Seventh Army troops drove northeast to take Sarrebourg.

U.S. Third Army elements of the 80th Division driving 23 miles beyond Metz, reached the center of the Maginot line yesterday while the Germans, with their south flank turned by the French blitz to the Rhine, began to retreat at points along a 125-mile line in Alsace and Lorraine.

Hold Out on Metz Islands

Refusing an American surrender demand, Nazis still held out last night at two points in Metz, west side in the Ile De Sauicy and in the southwest section of the Ile de Chambiere. Both islands are bounded by branches of the Moselle River which runs through the town.

battle of metz

Metz never was taken by storm in its 2,000 years until U.S. Third Army, 5th and 9th Division infantry took all but two small sections of the city after breaking through its rings of forts. Last forts by-passed were Queleu (1). Privat (2) and Blaise (3). Blaise is surrounded.

Six forts, surrounded and weakening, also kept fighting outside the city. The Stars and Stripes Correspondent, Earl Mazo, reported from the front that 600 Germans were fighting in Fort Driant, but food and ammunition were running short.

In Paris, Gen. Eisenhower told 200 war correspondents that the French First Army’s dash to the Rhine and capture of the Belfort marked a milestone in the accomplishments of the French Forces, while Gen De Gaulle announced to the French Provisional Cabinet that French armor had reached the outskirts of the ancient Burgundian city of Mulhouse.

5th infantry division metz

Men of the 5th Infantry Division enter Metz, France.

While the German High Command calmly conceded the victory of the French, according to German Transocean Newsagency, Wehrmacht troops to the north were retreating before U.S. Seventh Army advances which carried elements of Lt. Gen. Alexander Patch’s forces to within 30 miles of Strasbourg.

In the north, Allied armies continued their march to the east, but in some places German resistance stiffened.

U.S. Ninth Army troops southeast of captured Geilenkirchen threw back a heavy counter-attack near Schleiden, while apparently reinforced panzers were hurled against advancing Tenth Armored Div. units in the Merzig area on the left flank of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton’s front.

Ninth Army troops advanced to within two and one-half miles of the Ruhr, capturing the towns of Gereonweiler, Freialdenhoves, Aldenhoven, Niedermerz, which was reached after a 1500-yard gain, and Underhausen. These towns roughly form a north-south line before the Ruhr Valley.

Push North in Sleet

East of Aachen, meanwhile, U.S. First Army troops pushed northward in bitter cold and sleety rain. Elements entered the southern and western outskirts of Eschweiler, where United Pres reports from the front said Lt. Gen. Courtney H. Hodges’ troops were finding less resistance than expected, indicating that the enemy was pulling out.

On the northern end of the front, British troops met stiffening resistance west of Venlo in an advance southwest of the Helena Canal. Their forward units were within three and one-half miles of the Ruhr.

On the western front’s center, Mazo reported that elements of the 26th Division moved ten miles north of Dieuze while the Tenth Armored Division to the north in Germany was being shelled by heavy enemy artillery emplaced at the points east of the Saar River.

Meanwhile, the Fifth and 95th Divs. Of the Third Army were mopping up in Metz, Mazo said.

5th infantry division metz

GIs of the 5th Infantry Division clear Metz house by house.

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