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HISTORY OF THE OFFICE OF MEDICAL HISTORY
109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division
109TH INFANTRY REGIMENT
28TH INFANTRY DIVISION
FROM: 0001 1 December 1944
TO : 2400 31 December 1944
, 1/25,000 - Sheets 6002, 6003, 6004, 6102, 6103, 6104, 6202, 6203, 6204.
a. Units in contact:
December to 15 December 1944 -- Opposed by elements of
16 December to 27 December 1944 --
The 914 VG Regiment relieved the 916 VG Regiment, who incurred severe losses during the attack.
27 December to 31 December 1944 - Not in contact with enemy.
b. Enemy reserves that can effect our situations
As of the 31st December, this Regiment was not in contact with the enemy, and held positions in the rear of attack units. In the event the enemy had committed his reserves estimated to be two (2) Armored and two Infantry Divisions in this sector, it would have necessitated offensive action on our part.
c. Enemy activity during period covered by reports:
From 1 December to 15 December 1944 - During this period the enemy remained in his fortifications on the East bank of the OUR River. He sent occasional patrols over to the West bank of the river in front of our positions in an attempt to determine our dispositions. He also attempted to set up observation posts on the West bank of the OUR River to watch our activities. Sporadic mortar and artillery fire well in the rear of front line positions during this period.
From 16 December to 24 December 1944 - On the 16th of December the enemy launched what he termed the 1944-45 Winter offensive. The entire 352nd VG Division was committed against this Regiment as well as scattered elements of the 5th Parachute Division and the 26th VG Division. The latter two units mentioned were apparently units who had become separated from their organizations. The action started with what was believed to be patrolling in strength and gradually reached the proportions of an all out offensive. The initial attack was preceded by an intense artillery barrage.
From 24 December to 27 December - After being relieved by friendly units, the Regiment occupied positions along the South bank of the SURE River. The 352nd VG Division was again identified here, as well as elements of the 276th VG Division. At this time the enemy was attempting to hold bridgeheads in the towns of Gilsdorf and Moestrof.
From 27 December to 31 December 1944 - Not in contact with enemy.
d. Brief estimate of enemy strength, material means, morale, and his probable knowledge of our situation:
Not in contact with enemy.
e. Conclusions covering plans open to the enemy which can effect our mission, including the effect of time, space, terrain, present known dispositions and other factors, on each such plan, and the earliest estimated time at which the enemy can put each into effects
At the date of this report, this Regiment is not in contact with the enemy. However, the enemy has the capability of counter-attacking our attacking forces, and neutralize the gains made thus far by these units. The enemy is known to have reserves that could be used in a counter-attack role. Any serious threat against the units to our front would necessitate a change of mission for this Regiment.
2. OWN SITUATION.
a. See attached situation map.
b. See attached situation map.
c. See attached situation map.
d. Brief description of our operation during period covered by reports:
1 December to 9 December 1944 - During this period, the Regiment continued to occupy and defend positions on the West bank of the OUR River and carried out an extensive training and re-organization program.
On the 3rd of December, Company A conducted a large scale raid on the enemy side of the OUR River for the purpose of capturing prisoners. The following day at 1400 the raiding party returned to 1st Battalion Headquarters having successfully accomplished their mission. One prisoner of war from the 915th Regiment of the 352nd V.G. Division had been captured thus confirming the fact that the 915th Regiment had relieved the 916th Regiment of the 352nd Division on the East bank of the OUR River.
On 7 December at 1100, Colonel Gibney, Regimental Commander, informed the staff, that he had been assigned as Chief of Staff, 28th Infantry Division, effective immediately. Lieutenant Colonel Rudder, formerly Commander of 2nd Ranger Battalion, arrived and assumed Command of the Regiment on 8 December 1944.
10 December 1944 - 2nd Battalion was relieved by the 60th Armored Infantry, 9th Armored Division from its position in the vicinity of BEAUFORT. Immediately upon its relief, the Battalion proceeded to the vicinity of BASTENDORF and relieved the 1st Battalion of the 110th Infantry. As a result of this shift in positions, the Regimental boundaries were changed so that BETTENDORF became the center of the right Battalion and BASTEND0RF the center of the left Battalion, with the reserve Battalion in DIEKIRCH.
11 December to 15 December 1944 - Lieutenant Colonel Strickler, Executive Officer, was transferred to the 110th Infantry on 11 December 1944. The 12th of December saw quite a few changes in the Regimental Staff. Major Maroney, S-3, was assigned command of 2nd Battalion due to the evacuation of Lieutenant Colonel Noto. Also on this date, Lieutenant Colonel Merriam was assigned to the Regiment and assumed the duties of the Executive Officer. Major Martin was assigned as S-3.
With the change of boundaries, it was necessary to move the Regimental Command post to ETTELBRUCK. This was accomplished on the 13th of December. Regiment continued its defensive mission with 1st Battalion in reserve at DIEKIRCH. 2nd Battalion occupying positions in the vicinity of BASTENDORF and 3rd Battalion occupying positions in the vicinity of BETTENDORF .
16 December 1944 - At 0545, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Battalion and Anti-Tank Company of the Regiment, reported they were receiving heavy concentrations of enemy artillery fire. Orders were issued by this headquarters for all personnel to be on the alert and use every precaution to prevent the enemy from crossing the OUR River.
The reserve Battalion, located in DIEKIRCH, was immediately alerted. At 0820 both forward Battalions reported strong enemy patrols operating on the West bank of the OUR River in the vicinity of VIANDEN and BETTENDORF . Both Battalions brought a heavy volume of small arms fire to bear on the enemy and called for defensive artillery fire. All positions held firmly, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Company E, 2nd Battalion, then reported strong enemy infiltrations around their flank in the vicinity of LONGSDORF. Company G, reserve company of the 2nd Battalion was ordered to move forward from its position in BRANDENBURG to the right flank of Company F, 2nd Battalion, who held the high ground Northeast of BRANDENBURG. This was accomplished and the high ground was held against frequent German attacks and infiltrations. All units reported heavy shelling and large concentrations of enemy troops attempting to infiltrate through
16 December 1944 (Cont'd).
their positions. The 107th and 108th Field Artillery Battalions, which were in direct support, continued to fire heavy concentrations by forward observer methods and the enemy's progress was delayed considerably. At 1425 the Commander of the 2nd Battalion reported that he had lost communications with Company E and that the last report he had from that unit was, that it was receiving heavy mortar concentrations and was being attacked by approximately one battalion of enemy. Company A, 1st Battalion and one platoon of medium tanks were sent North to LONGSDORF in an attempt to establish contact with Company E, 2nd Battalion. During this time the 110th Infantry Regiment on our left was receiving heavy pressure from enemy infantry and tanks and was forced to fall back to new positions. Company A, 1st Battalion, with a platoon of tanks ran into strong enemy positions including three Tiger tanks South of LONGSDORF and were unable to advance. Company B, 1st Battalion of the reserve battalion, was alerted and stood by with transportation for movement to the vicinity of BRANDENBURG and LIPPERSCHEID. Company C was held in battalion reserve until 1900 when they were ordered to seize and hold BRANDENBURG at all cost. This was accomplished at 2230. 3rd Battalion held all positions well and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy who attempted to over-run their positions. It is estimated that three enemy infantry battalions crossed the OUR River in the Regimental sector during this first day of the German offensive.
At mid-night, 3rd Battalion held their original positions; 2nd Battalion with Company E in FOUHREN, Company F to the North of WALSDORF, and Company G to the 1Nest of WALSDORF and tied in with Company F.
17 December 1944 - The second day of the German counter-offensive opened with a terrific barrage of artillery that started at 0530 and lasted for one hour. At this time 3rd Battalion reported an enemy attack of approximately two company size which was preceded by enemy smoke on their positions. Stiff fighting was ensued and the enemy was repulsed. 2nd Battalion was attached in the vicinity of VIANDEN - FOUHREN by a company of German infantry and three Tiger tacks. Company G, 2nd Battalion, captured twenty prisoners and in a co-ordinated defense with Company F, 2nd Battalion, was responsible for a large number of enemy wounded and dead. Company A, let Battalion, reinforced with a section of tanks from Company C, 707 Tank Battalion, attempting to reach LONGSDORF - TANDEL in order to re-supply Company E, 2nd Battalion met strong resistance by enemy infantry and tanks proceeding South from LONGSDORF. Anti-Tank Company, who had taken positions along the road running South from TANDEL at the DIEKIRCH - BETTENDORF junction, became engaged in a fire fight with three Tiger tanks and about two companies of infantry. The tanks knocked out two Anti-Tank guns but only after the Anti-Tank platoons offered stiff resistance and scored a great many hits on the tanks. One gun platoon and one mine laying platoon from Anti-tank Company estimated they accounted for 150 Germans in dead and wounded and 25 of the enemy taken prisoner.
During close-quarter fighting in the Company F position, vicinity East of BRANDENBURG, our bazookas accounted for two enemy tanks. During the early afternoon, the enemy launched another offensive at the 3rd Battalion in the REISDORF area. The 3rd Battalion remained in their positions and by employing all the small arms fire of the infantry battalion repulsed the attack and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy. During the early afternoon the enemy over-ran the kitchen of Company F, 2nd Battalion, and enemy artillery destroyed that of Company D, let Battalion. It was then ordered that the kitchens in the Regimental area be moved to the vicinity of ETTELBRUCK . This was accomplished without further losses by the Regimental S-4 and Civil Affairs
17 December 1944 (Cont'd)
Officers. Regimental Cannon Company, after having one gun position over-run by the enemy, successfully displaced to new positions and continued their support by fire. It was learned that the enemy had attacked the 110th Infantry on our left with a large number of infantry and tanks and had over-run most of their positions which created a situation of extreme danger to our left flank. 28th Division Headquarters directed that we send two of our three platoons of towed Tank Destroyers to the 110th Infantry sector. Late that afternoon the enemy succeeded in infiltrating large groups into our rear areas and constantly harassed the supporting field artillery positions. Battery At 107th and Battery C, 108th Field Artillery Battalions were particularly threatened and used direct fire of their guns to repulse the enemy on more than one occasion. Commanding Officer, 107th Field Artillery Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Rosoborough, then organized a task force of two tanks and a platoon of infantry and immediately proceeded to aid the troubled battery. After severe fighting in and about the battery positions, he was successful in evacuating all the guns and equipment of that unit and accounted for one hundred fifty dead and forty five prisoners of war.
Radio contact was gained with Company E 2nd Battalion, between 1000 and 1600 who constantly requested ammunition, rations and more concentrated artillery fire. Company B, let Battalion, plus four tanks, were given the mission of taking ammunition and rations to the isolated Company E. By 2300 that night, they had not yet completed their mission and the 1st Battalion Commander ordered them to accomplish their mission at daylight.
18 December 1944 - The enemy continued with heavy interdictory artillery fire on all positions during the night and extensive patrol and infiltrations proceeded; however, our positions remained substantially the same until morning. Company K, 3rd Battalion, made contact with Company A, 1st Battalion, and organized the high ground South of LONGSDORF. At daylight, the enemy exerted extremely heavy pressure on 3rd Battalion where one platoon of Company K, 3rd Battalion, after extensive close in engagements with the enemy and with its ammunition supply exhausted, was captured. Company A, 1st Battalion with one platoon of tanks met increased enemy resistance from tanks and infantry while they attempted to fight their way into FOUHHEN to relieve Company E, 2nd Battalion. The positions of Company A, 1st Battalion were dangerously threatened by a flank attack conducted by approximately two companies of enemy. Company C, 1st Battalion, which had been organizing the defense of BRANDENBURG , held their positions in the face of strong enemy attacks. By 1200, Company B, 1st Battalion, had not been successful in their mission of contacting and re-supplying Company E. It is believed that if Company B had been more aggressive in their attack to FOUHREN, they could have relieved the pressure on Company E, permitting them to conduct a withdrawal.
At 0900 the Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoon with one tank, attempted to reach Company E, 2nd Battalion. They reached a position two hundred yards short of Company E, 2nd Battalion in FOUHREN and observed its Command Post entirely burned down and no friendly troops in the area. They were unable to investigate further because of severe enemy shelling and an enemy armored attack to the rear. It is estimated that Company E, 2nd Battalion, was over-run by at least two battalions of enemy and the majority of the company captured. Earlier in the afternoon, three enemy tanks broke through our defenses at LONGSDORF and TANDEL and proceeded South to Road Junction 206 on the BETTENDORF - DIEKIRCH road. All available men in 1st Battalion and in Anti-Tank Company were called upon to employ all bazookas in the outpost of this highway. Third Battalion supply train was unable on three occasions to reach their battalion via BETTENDORF road because of heavy enemy small arms fire and direct tank fire.
18 December 1944 - (Cont'd).
Enemy infiltration continued in 3rd Battalion sector and was beaten back on all occasions. Because of the holes left in our line when Company E, 2nd Battalion, and one platoon of Company K, 3rd Battalion, became ineffective, a proper withdrawal was then executed. Engineers were ordered to make a reconnaissance of all bridges for demolition purposes and all roads and junctions to be mined. The 60th Armored Infantry, 9th Armored Division, withdrew to new positions in the vicinity of ERMSDORF by 1700. The 110th Infantry on our left, because of increasing enemy pressure were reported to have withdrawn to positions in the vicinity of WILTZ. The Commanding General, 28th Infantry Division, then ordered our combat team to roll back with the 9th Armored Division so as not to expose their left flank. Our mission was to delay the enemy as much as possible. The plan of withdrawal was to group all units into a small compact fighting force and assume positions on the high ground North and East of DIEKIRCH. Organic artillery was to support the withdrawal by fire. Bridges were prepared and were to be blown on order. Roads were to be mined as soon as all units were out. This plan was executed between 182000A December 1944 and 190200A December 1944.
During the previous three days the following ammunition was expended: 280,000 rounds of small arms, 5,000 rounds of mortar, 3,000 hand grenades and 300 rounds of bazookas.
19 December 1944 - The withdrawal, successfully executed, placed our forces on commanding terrain in an excellent defensive position. Enemy infantry and armor remained inactive during the withdrawal; however, enemy artillery fired heavy concentrations on BETTENDORF . Positions were well dug in and occupied during the night and mines and obstacles placed in front of the Main line of Resistance. Observation from Out Posts was excellent and at daylight our artillery and mortars were effectively brought to bear on any movement by the enemy. One particularly large attack against the 3rd Battalion sector was effectively dealt with and resulted in the capture of eighty prisoners and injury or death to a probable three hundred. Positions remained the same during most of the day. During the hours 1400 - 1600 one battalion of enemy attempted to cross the OUR River and 2nd and 3rd Battalions became engaged in a heavy fire fight. 28th Division G-2 advised us to expect large tank attacks in the vicinity of VIANDEN - REISDORF during the night or at day break on 20 December 1944. At 1800, heavy motor movements were heard in front of 2nd Battalion with small infiltrations on their right flank. Enemy artillery became extremely active during this period. Acting under orders from VIII Corps, the 9th Armored Division on our right ordered us to keep their left flank covered. 2nd Battalion was ordered to withdraw to the vicinity of COLMAR , 1st Battalion to the high ground West of ETTELBRUCK, and 3rd battalion first to ETTELBRUCK until all Regimental units cleared, thence, Company I to FEULIN, Company K to MERZIG and Company L to GROSBOUS. Supporting Field Artillery displaced and covered our withdrawal with interdictory fire. The withdrawal started at 19200A December 1944 and was completed by 200400A December 1944. Thirty-four casualties resulted from enemy interdictory fire. All bridges in and around ETTELBRUCK were blown after all units cleared,, all main avenues of approach were mined and booby trapped. Contact was established with the 9th Armored Division on our right and co-ordinated defense of the new positions established.
20 December 1944 - After the Regiment had assumed the new positions West and
20 December 1944 (Cont'd)
South of ETTELBRUCK, a strong enemy concentration of infantry and armor were observed in and about the town from strategic Out Posts on the high ground. Our forward observers were able to bring effective artillery fire on the enemy and later statements of prisoners of war said their advance through ETTELBRUCK was considerably delayed and a large number of casualties caused by our artillery. All bridges in front of our Main Line of Resistance were mined and booby trapped and wherever possible bridges blown and road blocks established. The enemy frequently patrolled in our sector to determine our strength and dispositions. Contact was continued with the 9th Armored Division on our right and early that evening we were advised that Combat Team 109 was attached to the 9th Armored Division for future operations. The 2nd Battalion was ordered to occupy positions on the high ground in the vicinity of ERMSDORF and CC "A", 9th Armored Division sector in order to bolster their defenses.
While on this mission, an enemy patrol of approximately thirty men clad in white, attacked the Company F, 2nd Battalion positions. Our small arms fire accounted for eight dead and twelve captured from this patrol. Prisoners of war stated, their mission was to capture American prisoners and obtain all the information possible in that sector.
1st and 3rd Battalion positions remained substantially the same with only strong patrol activity reported. Company It 3rd Battalion, especially, from their positions at FEULIN repeatedly drove back enemy combat and reconnaissance patrols.
21 December 1944 - At 0520, a company of enemy infantry exerted strong pressure on Company It 3rd Battalion, vicinity of FEULEN but were repulsed by small arms and artillery fire. G-2, 9th Armored Division, alerted us for probable enemy attack from the Northwest. Close liaison was maintained with the 9th Armored Division who reported increasing enemy pressure in the ERMSDORF sector.
At 1000 a German Officer prisoner of war was captured by 1st Battalion. Map carried by this officer showed that the entire 352nd VG Division had attacked against our Regimental front, crossing the river between ROTH and HOESDORF with the 915th Regiment and 916 Regiment abreast. The map also snowed that the 352nd VG Division planned to strike west through ETTELBRUCK and HEIDERSCHEID then turn South toward ARLON and LUXEMBOURG CITY .
1st Battalion reported strong patrol activity on their left flank and with the aid of excellent Out Posts repulsed all prying attempts by the enemy.
By noon the pressure on Company I, 3rd Battalion, continued to increase and they were ordered to occupy positions on the right flank, Company It 3rd Battalion on the high ground South of MERZIG. 1st Battalion adjusted their left flank (Company C) in ordered to tie in with Company I, 3rd Battalion, Southeast of MERZIG. Constant motor movement was heard to the front of Companies I and C. Our supporting tanks were put into position in platoon areas of Company L, 3rd Battalion, and Companies I and C. At this time, the 80th Infantry Division sent liaison officers from the 318th and 319th Infantry Regiments to contain our situation and make plans to pass through our units in an attack to the Northeast. In order to bolster the defenses of Company L, 3rd Battalion, one platoon of Company At 103rd Engineers was committed to a defensive position in the draw Southeast of GROSBOUS, The enemy was constantly harassed by both direct and indirect fire from our light and heavy machine guns, tanks, and artillery.
At dark the enemy moved into the town of MERZIG with one company of infantry
21 December 1944 (Cont'd)
and supporting tanks. The artillery forward observer with Company I, 3rd Battalion, fired three Time on Targets into the town which hindered the advance and prevented movement by the enemy. Harassing artillery fire was continued in the towns of ETTELBRUCK and ERPELDANGER and all main roads, cross roads and junctions in the vicinity.
22 December 1944 - During the hours 0200 - 0500 heavy enemy patrol activity was reported from 1st and 3rd Battalion sectors. The enemy frequently shot up flares over our Main Line of Resistance in an attempt to observe our dispositions.
At 0300 Company C, 1st Battalion, reported strong enemy infiltrations of about a company size on their right flank. This pressure continued throughout the night and was successful in turning the right flank of Company C, 1st Battalion, resulting in a slight penetration. Company A, 1st Battalion, battalion reserve company, was then committed into the gap between Companies B and C, 1st Battalion, which stopped further infiltration at this point. The enemy began infiltrating motor and foot columns into the woods South of HARPARTSHOF and along the road that ran from ETTELBRUCK to GROSBOUS. Our supporting artillery continually laid down battalion concentrations in the woods and along the road. The direct fire from our tanks and Anti-Tank weapons left the E'ITLEBRUCK - GROSBOUS road littered with burning German vehicles and enemy dead. It is estimated that at least two Battalions of Infantry and a battalion of artillery was destroyed at this time. The enemy apparently thought that we had withdrawn during the night to the next high ground to the South. That is probably the reason why he marched his columns across our front in broad daylight. The slight infiltration in the Company C area resulted in small groups of enemy, launching small attacks around our rear installations. 3rd Battalion Command Post engaged in a heavy small arms fight early in the morning. This was repulsed as elements of the 318th Infantry, 80th Infantry Division, passed through 1st Battalion and Companies I and K, 3rd Battalion. The 26th Infantry Division, who were to pass through Company L, 3rd Battalion, were reported held up by strong enemy attacks and were unable to advance as quickly as expected. Company L, 3rd Battalion, remained on position and remained in close contact with the enemy. Plans were made for the relief of Company L, 3rd Battalion, and the placing of 1st Battalion in an assembly area in the vicinity of BERG and elements of 3rd Battalion to SCHANDEL.
23 December 1944 - With all forward elements, except Company L, 3rd Battalion, passed through by elements of the 80th Infantry Division, our activity was somewhat reduced. At 0515 Company L, 3rd Battalion, was passed through by elements of the 26th Infantry Division and joined the remainder of the 3rd Battalion at SCHANDEL.
The Battalions in the assembly areas fed what few hot meals they could and prepared for movement to vicinity of STEGEN. At 1600 Regimental Commander called a meeting of Battalion and attached unit Commanders at 90th Reconnaissance Squad[ron] Command Post (10th Armored Division) and issued a oral field order for attack to secure ground on the South side of DIQUE River from ETTELBRUCK to MOESTROFF.
24 December 1944 - At 0700 3rd Battalion closed into the assembly area in the vicinity of STEGEN prior to the attack. lst Battalion closed into assembly area at 0930. H-hour was at 1100. Combat Team 109 (2nd Battalion, Anti-Tank Company) attached: 107th Field Artillery Battalion, 108th Field Artillery Battalion, Company A,
24 December 1944 (Cont'd).
103rd Engineer Battalion, Company A, 103rd Medical Battalion, Company C, 707 Tank Battalion, Company A, 630 Tank Destroyer Battalion, (Two platoons) 90th Cavalry Squadron 10th Armored Division jumped off as scheduled. 3rd Battalion reached high ground West of MOSTROFF at 1500 and were then ordered to seize and hold MOESTROFF, this was accomplished by 1830. 1st Battalion attacked to Northeast and secured area E of GILSDORF on the South bank of the DIQUE River . They were then ordered to assist the 90th Cavalry Squadron in the capture of GILSDORF, this was accomplished by 1800. Improvised bridges at GILSDORF and BETTENDORF were blown by Company A, 103rd C Engineers after it was observed that the bridge at MOESTROFF had been blown by the enemy in his retreat across the river. The objectives were organized and defensive positions occupied.
25 December 1944 - This Regiment (90th Cavalry Squadron attached) at 0900 was ordered to defend the DIQUE River line from E'TTELBRUCK to MOESTROFF inclusive. Self propelled Tank Destroyers and tanks were placed in position to execute direct fire missions across the DIQUE River on to the DIEKIRCH - BETTENDORF road which the enemy was constantly using. This fire was extremely effective and accounted for at least twenty armored vehicles, twenty seven bicycles, three motorcycles and about two companies of enemy completely destroyed on this road. The enemy then began harassing our positions with heavy artillery. 2nd Battalion was released from their mission in the vicinity of ERMSDORF and were ordered to relieve task force Standish (10th Armored Division). This was completed at midnight with 2nd Battalion securely tied in on 3rd Battalions right flank.
26 December 1944 - The Regiment was notified that it was to be relieved by elements of Combat Command "A" 6th Armored Division and plans were immediately started when advance party of that unit arrived. The relief was completed by 2040 without casualties. We then learned that we were to revert to control of 28th Infantry Division in the vicinity of NEUFCHATEAU.
27 December 1944 - Regimental combat team, from assembly positions in the vicinity of STEGEN, moved by motor to the vicinity of BIOURGE - GRANDVOIR. Last elements closed in at 2300.
28 December 1944 - The Regiment was then ordered to move 1st Battalion to RECOGNE, 2nd Battalion to vicinity of ST. PIERRE , and 3rd Battalion to LIBRAMONT with the mission of holding these positions against possible enemy armored and infantry attacks from the Northeast and Northwest. Patrol zones were immediately established and vigorous motorized patrolling executed. There was light enemy air activity in the Regimental zone but resulted in no casualties.
29 December 1944 - Patrol missions were continued and engineer road blocks installed at probable approaches. Company C, 1st Battalion, was moved to the vicinity of OCHAMPS to act as outposts and screening forces for the 87th Infantry Division, who was moving into assembly areas West of RECOGNE.
30 December to 31 December 1944 - The 87th Infantry Division jumped off in the
30 December to 31 December 1944 - (Cont'd).
attack to the Northeast, with the 11th Armored Division attacking on their right. our units were passed through by these elements. All battalions continued patrol missions, maintained close liaison with the attacking units and protected left flank of the 87th Infantry Division. A patrol was sent to ST. HUBERT and approached within five hundred yards of ST. HUBERT but was driven back by heavy small arms fire.
e. Concisely worded estimate of the combat efficiency of our Command:
At the end of the month, the combat efficiency of the Regiment was again on the up-grade despite the losses in leaders of all grades and ranks. Rest and improved living conditions contributed to the increase in combat efficiency of all individuals and units of the Regiment.
f. Results of operations during the period covered by this report:
Can best be expressed in the attached extract from G-2 Periodic Report No. 202, TUSA, dated 30 December 1944. In addition to the destruction of the enemy as noted in the above mentioned extract, the following was accomplished: Combat Team 109, by its aggressive defense in successive delaying positions during the period 16 December to 26 December 1944; completely exposed the left flank of the German drive at its base by almost destroying the entire 915th and 916th VG Regiments, and a major part of the 914th VG Regiment of the 352nd VG Division.
If Combat Team 109 had withdrawn due South to the left flank of the 9th Armored Division in the vicinity of ERMSDORF, as suggested by the Commanding General, 9th Armored Division, elements of the 352nd VG Division would have been able to advance without resistance and probably would have reached the strategic high ground in the vicinity of HEINERSCHEID - GROSBOUS - MERZIG - and BERG from which they could have launched an attack into the assembly areas of the 80th and 26th U.S. Infantry Divisions, prior to their attack on 23 December 1944. Combat Team 109 secured and held the positions in the vicinity of GROSBOUS, MERZIG, NIEDERFEULEN, BERG, COLMAR , GILSDORF and MOSTROFF; from which the III Corps was able to launch a successful counter-attack against the South flank of the German offensive at its base.
a. Strength at beginning of period - Officers 145, WO 5, EM 2817.
Strength at end of period - Officers 111, WO 5, EM 1976.
Reinforcements received - Officers 1, E 110.
Reinforcements expected at end of period - Officers 42, EM 1073.
Killed - Officers 5, EM, 93.
Wounded - Officers 19, EM 294.
Missing - Officers 5, EM 154.
Non-Battle - Officers 5, EM 249.
Captured - Officers 9, EM 341.
c. Prisoners captured - 285.
d. Evacuation - Normal
e. No supply or evacuation establishments of interest to higher Headquarters.
f. Status of supply: Submitted to higher headquarters the normal monthly Periodic Status of Equipment reports. All men of the Regiment were showered and received clean clothing at least twice. Quartermaster laundry facilities for blankets, overcoats and field jackets were used.
The second pair of shoes was issued to eighty (80) percent of the enlisted personnel. Combat Loss Certificates for losses in Hurtgen Forest area were submitted and approved and the corresponding Property Book inspections made.
Washing of vehicles and six thousand (6000) mile motor vehicle inspections were processed. Many vehicles were deadlined for a period of fifteen (15) days for lack of brakelining.
About fifteen (15) truckloads of Christmas mail was processed from 5 December to 16 December 1944. The Regiment received a full issue of T.E. equipment following Hurtgen Forest battle except for B.A.R.'s and 60mm mortars.
Technical inspections of vehicles and Ordnance weapons was accomplished for entire Regiment. The Regiment sustained the following losses of equipment in the break-through:
The Regiment experienced its heaviest loss of communication wire since entry into combat. There were also heavy losses of blankets, shoes, arctics and clothing.
Regimental Trains moved three times in a period of fifteen (15) days. Approximately forty two (42) 2½ ton trucks moved each time.
Approximately sixty (60) ton of ammunition was expended during the German break-through.
Regiment experienced first movement with Communication Zone semi-trailers, six and ten ton capacity.
g. During this period, all roads were in good shape and fit to travel except during the latter part of the month, intermediate snow storms made roads icy and difficult to travel. An order was received from Division to have all tire chains mounted on driving wheels. This order was sent down to all battalion and separate company commanders.
We learned that if you stay in position and hold your ground, enemy infiltrations behind your front lines can be repelled by small well-organized counter-attacking forces. The men must be taught not to become panicky at the sound of a few burp-guns to their rear.
When Field Artillery positions are threatened to be over-run by enemy infiltrations, we learned from experience that artillery gun crews can be very effective fighting forces if they do not abandon their guns and attempt to escape. One instance that occurred on 18 December 1944 in Battery A, 107th Field Artillery Battalion and Battery C, 108th Field Artillery Battalion positions. The enemy succeeded in getting into the Battery positions, but the gun crews fought as infantry, assisted by a platoon of infantry and two tanks that they had requested. They even used the direct fire of their pieces to repulse the enemy. In this action they accounted for one hundred fifty enemy dead and approximately forty five more captured. This enabled them to successfully withdraw to new positions and continue their normal support of the infantry, with only the loss of one hundred fifty rounds of ammunition.
One of the Regiment's biggest assets during this operation was having infantry officers trained as artillery forward observers. On 17 December 1944, 1st Lieutenant Edward L. Peer, Executive Officer, Company L, 3rd Battalion, continuously adjusted our supporting artillery, so effectively that an estimated enemy infantry battalion was destroyed.
3 Incls: Unit
Journal (Orig Only) [missing]
Par 5 G-2 Periodic Report No 202 TUSA 30 December 1944.
5. 352 Volks
a. 914 VG Regt:
After the Regt was unable to seize MICHELBUCH (7636), which had been its objective on 22 Dec, it was constantly engaged around ET'TELBRUCH (8240). Not only the Rifle Cos , but the Hv Cos and the bazooka Co lost considerably in the course of these engagements.
b. 915 VG Regt:
It is now learned that the regt suffered already in the early stages of the attack, first of all due to its role as spearhead of the Div. 2nd Bn subjected to concentrated arty fire when in FUHREN (895474), 17 Dec, to such an extent that it moved to the S towards LONGSDORF (900455). Thence they advanced via TANDEL (885455) and BASTENDORF (872450) to BRANDENBURG (885472). This proved their undoing. The Regt'l CO having been wounded, the men executed this move without flank protection and the entire Regt was trapped for almost two days until freed by 916 Regt. The temporary Regt'l CO was for[th]with replaced by one better acquainted with tactics. As stated before, the Regt fought again at GROSBOUS (728382) and along the Rd to PRATZ (705352). Once more it was caught in our Arty fire, and after three days of intense shelling a retreat toward NEIDER FUELEN (785410) was judged unavoidable. Regt withdrew to BAMBROUGH (645385) and HEIDERSCHEID (735445) losing men all the way. When they finally reached NIFDERFUELEN US troops received them. There is no 915 Regt left, as of 27 Dec. However, sizeable groups of stragglers are known to be drifting around.
c. 916 VG Regt:
No PW from this Regt taken during recent days.
d. Div Combat School :
This unit was activated together with the Div, and moved out from FLENSBURG (C 29) when the Div left. Until 22 Dec a group of about 120 NCOs of 914, 915, 916 Regts were at DIEKIRCH (F 84) following additional Tng courses which had started on 5 Dec, and were to last four weeks. By 22 Dec the situation was deemed so critical that these men had to be committed around DIEKIRCH, where they were still fighting by Dec 25.
e. 1352 Arty Regt:
3 Btry was at GENTINGEN (923451) on 18 Dec, in BETTEL (91747) on 19 Dec, and in BRANDENBURG (854472), on 21 Dec. The following day, in support of 13 Co, 915 VG Regt, the Btry fought at NIEDERFEULEN. On 23 Dec it was subjected to violent counter battery fire, and suffered additional damage from a strafing attack. Two of its guns were lost that day, thus leaving the Btry with 4-75mm AT guns. While the guns were tractor-drawn, the personnel was riding on old-time horse-drawn carts, and the Ammo also was hauled in horse-drawn vehicles.
Ten of 1352 Arty Regt have not received any new gas instructions in recent weeks:
Personnel of the Arty Regt was successful in getting as much gasoline as it needed, also after the initial allotment taken into combat had been used up. It received such fuel directly from Div.\
The 352 Div has a bridge across the SAUER River near GILSDORF (883421). This wooden foot-bridge is to replace the 15 m span which was blown down. The old abutments have been used.
SOURCE: National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 407, Records of the US Army Adjutant General, World War II Records, 109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, Unit Reports, October-December 1944, Box 8593 .