With the opening of the warmer weather great preparations had been made by Great Britain for carrying on the land campaign, and these now began to bear fruit. Apart from the numerous Territorial regiments which had already been incorporated with regular brigades some fifty battalions in all there now appeared several divisions entirely composed of Territorials. The 46th North Midland and 48th South Midland Divisions were the first to form independent units, but they were soon followed by others. It had been insufficiently grasped that the supply of munitions was as important as that of men, and that the months expenditure of shell was something so enormous in modern warfare that the greedy guns, large and small, could keep a great army of workmen employed in satisfying their immoderate demands. The output of shells and cartridges in the month of March was, it is true, eighteen times greater than in September, and 3000 separate firms were directly or indirectly employed in war production; but operations were hampered by the needs of batteries which could consume in a day what the workshops could at that time hardly produce in a month. Among the other activities of Great Britain at this period was the great strengthening of her heavy artillery, in which for many months her well- prepared enemy had so vast an advantage. Huge engines lurked in the hearts of groves and behind hillocks at the back of the British lines, and the cheery news went round that even the heaviest bully that ever came out of Essen would find something of its own weight stripped and ready for the fray.
Buttressed by their massive defensive positions, the Germans counterattacked, hitting the 39th and 60th regiments hard. Nevertheless, aided by tanks from the 3rd Armored Division, the Americans slowly forged ahead. The Germans, however, rushed in reinforcements to confront the deepest penetration by the GIs, the town of Germeter, three miles from the strategic hub of Schmidt. From October 6-16 the 9th Division gained about 3,000 yards at a cost of some 4,500 men killed, wounded or missing. Having battled its way only a short distance into the forest, the 9th Division was exhausted. To relieve the division, the First Army commander, Courtney Hodges, next called on the 28th Division, a Pennsylvania National Guard outfit that had several months of combat under its cartridge belts. The division, led by Maj. Gen. Norman ‘Dutch’ Cota, prepared to renew the drive toward Schmidt. The 28th, part of Maj. Gen. Leonard Gerow’s V Corps, was close to full strength, having recently received several thousand replacements. For added punch, Cota could also call on support from the 707th Tank Battalion. The infantrymen and tankers had little experience working together however. Tank commander 1st Lt. Raymond Fleig commented: ‘You’d never know we were in the same Army. We married up with the infantry on the run. There was little or no coordination of communication [or] routes of attack.’