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THE AMEDD HISTORIAN NEWSLETTER

Theodore A. Seely Letter

Table of Contents

8 May 1945

Dear General Cota

Ed Sebree was in here this morning to see me and asked me to write you a letter and tell what I could about the December action in Luxembourg that might be of help in getting a Presidential citation for the 110th. I certainly believe that the regiment earned a citation there-whether or not any dope I have will help I don't know, but here goes.

The regimental CP at Clerveaux [Clervaux] was overrun Sunday night, 17 December, Fuller and the Staff got out all right, but because they moved back by infiltration, they were pretty well scattered. Regimental Hq Co, which was in the chateau in town, held out until late the next day. They were surrounded and cut off, but held out until they ran out of ammunition, the chateau had been set on fire by incendiaries, and an enemy tank entered the courtyard of the chateau.

When I went over on Monday to Allerborn to take over, the situation was somewhat as follows: G Company had been unable to reach Esselborn and had gone into a defensive position at the town where the 2nd Bn CP had been before the action started-I do not recall the name of it. They were in contact with an armored infantry outfit of the 9th A. D. which was on their left astride the main Clerveaux [Clervaux]- Bastogne road. Harwell had set up the CP for regiment at Allerborn. Captain Reardon and Captain Dobbs had gathered together the remnants of the 2nd Bn (less G Co) in the vicinity of the road Junction just east of Allerborn, Another armored infantry company and a tank company of the 9th A D were going into position there, and I ordered Reardon to organize a position on the right of the armored infantry outfit. About that time Company G-and the armor on their left-were driven back. We reorganized them and put them with Reardon. However, in all he had only what amounted to about a company and a half.


2

I contacted the CO of CCR of the 9AD, who commanded the force from that division. He was very pessimistic about the situation and was fearful of encirclement around the left flank. We had difficulty maintaining liaison with the armor and our communications were very poor due to a shortage of wire. I talked with Plitt at the War Room late in the afternoon, and shortly afterwards the line was cut by what I learned later was another enemy column between Wiltz and Allerborn. 

Also, late in the afternoon two officers of the 630th TD came in from their CP. They reported that the CP was surrounded and also that Fuller was at their CP.

Sometime after the line to division was cut, an officer from Div Signal came in on foot. He had started out in a jeep from Wiltz to check the line and had run into the enemy column which had cut the Wiltz-Allerborn road. His jeep was shot up and he was the only one who got away.

Shortly before dark, the position in the vicinity of the road junction east of Allerborn came under attack. I sent the vehicles of the CP back to the rear, to the 109th FA position. About dark, the tanks of the 9th AD to our front started moving to the rear. I put the whole staff to work rounding, attempting to stop the stragglers of both tanks and armored infantry. We didn't have much suc­cess stopping the tanks but sent quite a number of the armored infantry back up.

Sometime later, Reardon came back to check on some artillery fire he had requested. He told me later, in prison camp, that when he returned forward much to his sur­prise he found that the tanks and armored infantry had folded and withdrawn, and his little force was alone against the enemy.

It began to get very foggy, reducing visibility to practically zero. Finally, one of my CP outposts came in and reported that he could hear a tank coming down the road from the direction of the front. I went outside, and could also hear it-it was an American M-4, but it was coming very slowly and I figured it was driven by a Boche. I went back inside and told the command group to scatter and reassemble on the vehicles.


3

Everyone started out the back-and Ewing and I were in the Hallway, in the rear of those going out, when the tank stopped right outside  the house. The Stairway to the basement was right beside us, and Ewing. Operations Sgt Hanna, and I went down into the basement. To our dis­may when we got down there, we found that the only exit was a front door. We went over to it and saw the tank right outside. There was also a Jeep, right beside the door, which had been abandoned by our armor. The tank fired into the building above us, so we ducked over against the wall and decided to wait for break in the column

and get out then. The trouble was there was no break. I believe there were 12 tanks in the column-one American M-4 and the rest were Mk IV's. They all fired into the build­ing, several into our doorway right beside us. Finally, the column stopped with a half-track right outside the door. Two Boche got out and started fiddling around the abandoned jeep. Suddenly, one of them turned his flashlight right on us and we were caught. We were immediately separated and put into different half-tracks, and I have not seen either Ewing or Sgt Hanna since. They put me on the visor of a half-track in which the platoon leader rode. After going down the road several miles I had a chance to jump during a halt and got away. After their wild shooting had died down and the column had moved on I headed north-but unfortunately ran into another column and walked right into the side of a half-track in the fog, and was re-nabbed.

I was carted around in a half-track with an armored infantry company until Wednesday morning, the 20th, when I was finally sent to the rear. I was treated very well until I reached Gerolstein PW Collecting Point-from there on the starvation diet started.

At division-I was captured by the 2nd Panzer-the interrogator was very complimentary about the fighting ability of the 28th. Neither there now at Corps, however, was the 110th specifically mentioned. I refused to tell them what regiment I commanded, they already had Fuller tagged as 110th, and the Corps Commander even said he knew I commanded the  111th!! So there was no particular reason for them to specifically compliment the 110th.

At Corps, the Corps Commander did not talk English, so we had to converse through an interpreter.


4

He was wry pleasant, and was most complimentary of the fighting ability of the 28th. He said that he had fought the 28th in Normandy as well as in Luxembourg and that it was the hardest fighting American outfit be had been against. 

At Army, I was interrogated by the Intelligence Officer-a young Lt Col who had been in New York before the war and who spoke excellent English. His particular comment on the 28th was how well our men were trained on security-­and he admitted that they  received very little information of value from our men. He also had me tagged as commanding the 111th, although his Order of Battle book had me as 110th. He did make a remark to the effect that our front-line units held very well and were difficult to clean out-but made no comment as to whether we had thrown their time-table out. I got the impression, though, that a force of 3 infantry and 2 panzer divisions, had been used against the 110th-and that our defense had used up the infantry divisions, leaving only the panzers to exploit the breakthrough. He told me that their objective was Antwerp , with the mission of splitting the Allied Force. He said that the Germans could not win the war, but he expected a negotiated peace if they accomplished their mission.

Later, in prison camp, I talked to a number of 110th officers about the action. In all cases, the consensus of opinion was that the regiment had inflicted very heavy casualties on the enemy. At Marnach and Hosingen, in particular, we made them pay a very heavy price. Some of our men had to later bury enemy dead, and there were hundreds of them. Capt Feiker told me that at Hosingen we literally mowed them down with machine gun fire.

At the time I was wounded at Nurnberg by American bombing-incidentally, I got 6-8 more pieces in my fanny there-we had 30 officers killed. The 28th Div officers were Major Payne, of the 109th FA, Captain Reardon and Captain Feiker, and Chaplain Koskamp, of the 110th. Capt Dobbs lost his foot. I was extremely lucky in that I was the closest of the lot to the bomb, and walked away from it-though limping, and had to give up walking after a couple of miles.


5

I am certainly sorry that I am not returning to the 28th-though with hostilities concluded over here I cannot say that I envy any of the occupation troops. If you move to the Pacific Theater, however, and need a lead-assed Colonel-may I put in my application? I certainly enjoyed my service with the 28th and under you and would like some of it.

My very best regards, General, and good luck.

Sincerely,

[signed]

Theodore A. Seely

SOURCE:  Exhibit C, 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.