"This village", so says the Michelin The Battle of St. Mihiel Guidebook, published in 1920, "stands on one of the promontorles of the chain of hills which stretches from Verdun to Toul and which separates the Valley of the Meuse from the Plains of the Woevre." In fact this chain of hills forms the first barrier to an advance from the east, from the then fortified German city of Metz.

On September 25, 1914 Hattonchâtel was captured by German troops of the 6 Army. The village remained in German hands for the next four years. In this wartime German view, three soldiers in Feldgrau pose with the village church behind them. The church, erected in 1328 and the 15th cenrtury cloister visible to the left of the church doors, were little damaged during 1914-1918.

On September 12, 1918 during the American offensive at St. Mibiel, the American 26th (Yankee) Division attacked toward Hattonchâtel from the west. By the evening they had captured the village, driving the Germans down onto the Woevre plain. At dawn the following morning, troops of this division linked up with advanced elements of the American 1st Division at the foot of the hill, near Vigneulles, thus completely pinching off the St. MihieI Salient.

The original German postcard photo has an interesting inscription on the reverse, written by the Yank who "souvenired" it and brought it home: "Was in this church. Americans used it as an observation post. Clarence Boese."

The "now" photo, taken in May, 2001 shows from left to right: Phil Barbara, Dr. Bill Greenwood, Tom Gudmestad and Christina Holstein.

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Additions and comments on these pages may be directed to:
Michael E. Hanlon (medwardh@hotmail.com)
Original artwork & copy; © 1998-2004, TGWS.