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Headquarters, Allied Prisoners of War, Wugarten, Germany

Table of Contents

Headquarters, Allied Prisoners of War
Wugarten , Germany
22 February 1945

Commanding General, 28th Infantry Division
 A.P. O. 28, U. S. Army

Dear General:

This is the first opportunity I have had to forward a letter since I was captured near Clerveauz [Clervaux], Luxemburg on 18 Dec 1944. Since my capture I have been through some most unusual experiences and hardships. We re­ceived very brutal treatment from the hands of the Germans. The group of prisoners I was with were marched east from the Siegfried Line for about 125 miles before we were put on a train (box-cars, 50 men to a car) and taken to Stalag 4B, near Leipzig. We stayed there four days, after which the officers in the group (88) were sent by train to Oflag 64/z, an officers prison about 60 kilometers northeast of Posen, in Poland. We were there six days when the big Russian winter offensive broke across the Vistula, and we were started westward by marching, day and night. During this march, of about 75 miles, a few of the officers escaped the guard, until on January 29th at Wugarten, Germany, we were about to be overtaken by Russian tanks. Here the German guards fled, and we took over the village, defending it with weapons we seized from the civilians. The Allied prisoners of war in our group at the time the German guards fled consisted of 70 American officers, 9 American enlisted men, and 198 Italians, of whom 104 were Generals. I took command of the group, and we had rather a shaky time of it for the next 24 hours until Russian troops arrived. During this time several small groups of German soldiers entered the village, but they put up no fight with us, and were easy to manage. The Russian tank commander placed me in command of the Allied garrison here and moved on. Two clays later the town was garrisoned by Russian troops.

Since January 29th, the Allied prisoner of War garrison here has grown to consist of 79 Americans, 199 Italians, 65 French, 38 Canadians, 3 Poles and 12 Jugoslavs.

We have been contacted by an officer from General Belov's staff, who assures us that we are to be moved to Moscow soon, to be repatriated to our respective countries.


2

My command post was overrun by many German tanks on the night of December 17th, and the building which I was in was surrounded. However, I managed to escape with the staff through a third story window to an adjacent cliff by means of a steel ladder we found. After escaping the Clerveaux [Clervaux] trap I continued the fight with what troops I could find, but I was captured during the night of December 18, 1944.

General, I want you to know that Regimental Combat Team 110 fought a magnificent fight in trying to halt the German Advance. We went down and carried out your orders to the letter to "hold at all cost." For that reason, I feel that the following units of Regimental Combat Team 110 are deserving of a War Department Citation, and I so recommend it to you:

110th Infantry, Commanded by Colonel Hurley E. Fuller, Inf.
109th FA Bn, Commanded by Lt. Col Robert E. Ewing, FA.
Co B 103d Engr Bn, Commanded by Captain Jarrett.

For your information, in preparing a citation for these units, the following facts are submitted. These units were holding approximately 15 miles of front opposite the Siegfried Line in Luxemburg when the German offensive started on December 16, 1944 Although attacked by two panzer divisions, and one Infantry division these units blocked the advance of this superior hostile force for three days along its main axis of advance, thus affording time for the movement of reserves to prevent a disastrous break­through by the enemy.

After the first two days of fighting, all elements of the 110th Infantry and Company B, 103d Engr Combat Battalion were completely surround­ed. These units continued to fight stubbornly in place, until their ammunition was exhausted, and they were virtually annihilated before they were completely overwhelmed by superior forces of tanks and armored infantry. On December 16,E although the enemy broke through to and surrounded the battery position of Battery C, 109th F. A. Bn. and captured two guns, the personnel of the battery fought viciously to hold the battery position, ultimately retaking the position and all material. This battery was again overrun on December 17th, but drove off the enemy and was enabled to displace to a position farther to the rear from which it continued to render continuous and effective fire support.

On December 17th, Battery A, 109th F. A. Bn. was overrun by a force of enemy infantry, losing two howitzers and several vehicles. The battery executive was killed while attempting to defend the position. The personnel of the battery remained in the area throughout the remainder of the day in an effort to retake their material, before finally falling back to a new position to the rear where the battery reorganized and continued to render support with its two remaining howitzers. B Battery was displaced before being overrun.

Headquarters Battery and the fire direction center remained in a for­ward position, under fire, until afternoon of the 17th of December, when they were ordered to displace to the rear. At no time during the German attack was any infantry protection available to the batteries of the 109th F. A. Bn. However all units defended their positions when attacked using their organic weapons, (carbines, pistols, and a few o Gal. Machine guns.)


3

The 110th Infantry Combat Team captured about 500 prisoners of the 2nd Panzer Division, the 116th Panzer Division, and the 26th Infantry Division. Most of these prisoners, however, were liberated by the enemy before they could be evacuated to the rear. 

After the defensive position of the 110th Infantry had been completely overrun, the enemy forced the prisoners to bury the German dead on the position. From reports of officers who had charge of these details, it is known that Combat Team 110 killed between 2000 and 2100 of the enemy before it was overwhelmed.

The following officers of the 28th Division are with me here: Lt. Col Ewing, Capt J. H. Burns, Capt Donald Gilinsky, Capt W. S. Linning, Capt K. B. Presley, Capt George H.  Rumbaugh, Capt Irving D. Warden, Capt E. P. Weeds, 1st Lt R. B. Beaucar, 1st Lt. V. A. Dagort, 1st Lt. E. A. Daffy, 1st Lt R. F. Glynn, 1st Lt. E. P. Kazarian, 1st Lt. C. J. Lause, 1st Lt. McLaughlin, 1st Lt. F. K. Richwine, 1st Lt. K. F. Valentine, 1st Lt. D. B. Wright, 2nd Lt C. H. Howell, 2nd Lt. J. C. Lewis, 2nd Lt. E. R. Murray, 2nd Lt. Pierre Rinjinneau (French Liaison Officer).

I have seen Captain Jarrett (Engrs) and Lt. Col Hughes, 110th Infantry, since their  capture, but they were sent to different prisons. All of us of the 28th Division are anxious to get back to our units in order to have another crack at the Germans before the war ends.

The Russian winter offensive has been the fastest moving "Blitzkrieg" on record. They have tremendous power behind it, and from all appearances they will reach Berlin in the near future.

With all best wishes to you and to the 28th Division, I am 

Sincerely yours,

[signed]

HURLEY E. FULLER

Colonel, 110th Infantry

 

SOURCE:  Exhibit B, History of the 110th Infantry APPENDIX, in National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 407, Records of U.S. Army Adjutant General, World War II Records, 110th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, History of the 110th Infantry Regiment, Box 8596.