The Battle of Horseshoe Woods is prominent in 5th Infantry Division lore. Our shoulder insignia is the Red Diamond on the sign behind you in the first picture.
It occurred near the villages of Dornot and Corny, and was known at the time as the "60 Hours Of Hell." It began on the morning of September 8, with an assault crossing by the 11th Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division. By late that day 4 companies had made it across with heavy casualties. They took up positions in the woods where they were subjected to heavy counter attacks by the Germans. By now, no reinforcements or supplies could get across the river, as they were diverted to a second attempted crossing by other units of the 5th at Arnaville. The surrounded troops were ordered to hold fast and fight on to keep the Germans occupied. After the other crossing gained a bridgehead, the survivors were withdrawn. Casualties were 945 KIA, WIA, and MIA.
Col Kelly B. Lemmon, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 11th Regiment, said later: "At Dornot we were like birds in a cage. Headquarters forbade the withdrawal and ordered the bridgehead to be held at all costs. My men would be sacrificed in a diversionary attack while the 10th Infantry Regiment was crossing the river at Arnaville. My men had total confidence in me and telling them they were 'expendable' was the most difficult thing I had to do during the entire war."
There is an organization in Corney that formed to keep alive the deeds of the 5th Infantry Div in liberating their town, Thanks GI's, and their founder is an Honorary Life Member of the Society of the Fifth Division. A number of years ago, members of this organization found the remains of one soldier, which they properly turned over to authorities. At our annual reunion in 2009, we held a formal ceremony to memorialize this MIA, Pvt Ralph Deneen. Attending were members of his family and members of Thanks GI's from France.
I served with the 5th Division in Vietnam, am a member of the Society, and look forward to our annual reunions. When I first started going the World War Two guys out numbered the rest, and as a WWII buff I enjoyed talking with them. Alas, their ranks are thin, at the 2017 reunion there were only two present.