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HEADQUARTERS, 28TH INFANTRY DIVISION

Table of Contents

HEADQUARTERS, 28TH INFANTRY DIVISION
APO 28, U. S. ARMY

Office of the A C of S, G-1
4 January 1945

 AFTER ACTION REPORT

All ELR records, journals and classified documents, except those reports and journal attached, were destroyed on 22 December 1944, at Vaux de Rosieres, Belgium , when their capture by the enemy appeared imminent.

FORREST CARAWAY
Lt Colonel, GSC
A C of S, G-1


UNIT REPORT NO. 6
From:  010001 Dec 1944
To: 312400 Dec 1944

Hq., 28th Inf Div.,
15 January 1945
In The Field

MAPS:    Central Europe : GSGS, Series 4416, 1:100,000 - Sheet T.l.
  Belgium and NE France : GSGS, Series 4336, 1:100,000, Sheets 13 and 17.

1. ENEMY:

a.  Units in contact: From North to South, the divisions initially on our front from 1 Dec to 15 Dec were 26 VG Div and 352 VG Div. On16 Dec, divisions initially committed were the 116 Pz Div, 560 VG Div, 2 Pz Div, 26 VG Div, 352 VG Div, and the 272 VG Div. This was followed by the 130 Pz Lehr Div, 11 Pz Div, and the 5 Para Div. Also at least 3 Bns of GHQ Artillery Rocket Bns and 2-4 Bns of GHQ King Tiger Tks were committed. (See also 1-2 Estimate of Situation dated 5 Jan 45, attached as Annex No. 5, and G-2 Estimate No. 5 dated 29 Dec 44, attached as Annex No. 6.)

b.  Enemy reserves that could affect our positions: By 29 Dec 44, the 10th SS Pz Div remained the only uncommitted unit of the 5th Pz. Army on the 28th Div Sector. An additional two Pz Divs and 4 Inf Divs on other fronts could have been brought into the Division sector to reinforce the than present enemy forces (See also G-2 Periodic Reports attached as Annex No. 4.)

c.  Description of enemy activity: (1) During the period 1 Dec to 13 Dec the enemy activity continued the same as the last 11 days of November. He sent out many small probing patrols west across the OUR R [River] with the apparent pur­pose of checking the strength and dispositions of our OPL. No attempt was made by him to send out any patrols in force.

(2)  Motor movement along the East bank of the OUR was heavier than heretofore with the Germans moving many vehicles (track, truck and horse-drawn) to the North with the main movement occurring between DASBURG and LUTZKAMPFEN. This traffic apparently moved from BITBURG to NEUERBURG and towards DASBURG.

(3)  During the same period he made a number of small, portable, wooden foot bridges. These were pushed across the river in order to give him crossing points for his patrols. The footbridges were either destroyed by artillery or withdrawn by the enemy.

(4)  During the period 14-15 December, enemy vehicles and troop movements increased greatly with most traffic going West and North from BITBURG. This activity was particularly heavy during the hours of darkness with much move­ment of bridging materials. New units were apparently on our front as evidenced by increased movement of foot troops and the more alert manner in which they moved.

(5)  During the night of 15-16 Dec, the enemy infiltrated many patrols of 30-60 men along our entire front. These men took cover until daylight of the 16th.


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(6)  A major attack was launched by the enemy with two Pz and three VG Inf Divs along our entire front at 0800A on 16 Dec. This was preceded by a heavy bombing and strafing attack and a 45-minute artillery preparation, with the greatest single concentration being in the South (109th Inf) sector where about 400 rounds landed.

(7)  In our North (112th Inf) sector, he launched his attack with elements of one Pz and one VG Div with mission of taking WEISWAMPACH. His initial penetration of 40 men succeeded in taking high ground vic P8670 and digging in there. His main effort was between our first and third Bns and he succeeded in rupturing our lines in this sector by using approximately one Bn of Tks and two Bns of Inf attacking from Kesfeld and two Bns of Inf attacking from ESCHFELD. His attacks on the 17th were contained with his objective still the same. The greatest pressure was exerted by tanks and infantry on our North flank from the vic of LUTZKAMPFEN on our South in this sector from the vic of KALBORN. During the day of 17 Dec, enemy pressure increased with his commitment of one additional Bn of Tks and four-six Bns of Inf; and he con­tinued his drive to the West. By 18 Dec, he had overrun LIELER and WEISWAMPACH and had turned the direction of his drive to the Southwest. Contact was lost when the 112th Infantry withdrew to the Northeast.

(8)  In our central (110 Infantry) sector, he launched his major attack with elements of two additional divisions including at least one Bn of Tks and four-six Bns of Infantry. Initial objective was to secure crossing sites over the OUR River from VIANDEN to DASBURG with main objective of establishing main supply road from DASBURG to MARNACH to CLERVAUX.  Initial deep penetrations were made in the vic of VIANDEN, PUTSCHEID, WAHLHAUSEN, HOSINGEN and DASBURG. On 17 Dec his drive continued straight West. He committed elements of an additional two Pz Divs including a total of three-five Bns of Tks and seven-ten Bns of Inf. He overran HUPPERDANGE, CLERVAUX (CLERF), BOCKHOLTZ (P7958), HOLZTHUM, CONSTHUM, and HOSCHEID by the end of that day. His drive continued towards WILTZ on 18 Dec, overrunning ESCHWEILER , WILWERWILTZ and BOCKHOLZ (P7548). He was contained at WILTZ until the 19th of Dec when he continued his drive to the West with BASTOGNE as his objective. His main forces attacked BASTOGNE while diversionary attacks were made on us at SIBRET at 0423A on 21 Dec with seven-ten tks and about three-five Cos of Inf. Contact was lost at 1153A on 21 Dec when we withdrew to VAUX Les ROSIERES. No contact made until 22 Dec. The enemy sent out small patrols to probe our positions at VAUX Les ROSIERES and engaged in small fire fights throughout the morning of 22 Dee . About 1700A, 22 Dec the Germans attacked with approximately one Co of Tks and two Cos of Inf from vic of NIVES. He drove for VAUX Les ROSIERES from the SE and E. At the same time he attacked with approximately one Co of Tks and two Cos of Inf from the vie of REMIENCE again driving for VAUX Les ROSIERES. The Tks and Inf closed to within about 850 yds of VAUX Les ROSIERES, at which time contact was lost when we withdrew to NEUCHATEAU. From 23 Dec to 31 Dec, no contact was made with the enemy and he confined his activities on our front to bombing and strafing of NEUFCHATEAU.


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(9) In the southern (109 Inf) sector, the enemy attack jumped off on 16 Dec with elements of two Inf Divs. This included a total of two-four Inf Bns. Later in the day he committed an additional two Bns from a Para Div. His initial penetration was in the vicinity of LANGSDORF, and with an initial objective of taking DIEKIRCH and then taking ETTELBRUCK. His attack was contained. He committed one Bn of Tks and an additional two-four Bns of Inf on 17 and 18 Dec. Contact was lost on the 19th when we withdrew to  SW and the enemy continued to the NW.

2. OWN SITUATION:

a.  Front lines: (See overlays attached as Annex No. 1.)

b.  Location of troops, command post, boundaries, etc: (See overlays attached as Annex No. 1.)

c.  Location of adjacent units and supporting troops: (See attached overlays - Annex No. 1.)

d. Our operations for the period: (1) During the period 1 Dec 44 to 9 Dec 44 the division, with attached units, continued defense of assigned sector (See Overlay - Annex 1), patrolled aggressively, and continued training with reserve elements.

(2)  On 9 Dec 44 the 32d Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron was relieved from attachment to the Division and the 110th Infantry assumed responsibility for the sector formerly occupied by the 32d Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron.

(3)  On 10 Dec 44 the 60th Armored Infantry Battalion, 9th Armored Division relieved the 2d Battalion, 109th Infantry and assumed responsibility for that sector.

(4)  During the period 10 Dec 44 to 15 Dec 44 the Division, with attached units, continued defense of assigned sector, patrolled aggressively, and continued training with reserve elements.

(5)  On 16 Dec 44, following a heavy enemy artillery preparation in the DIEKIRCH (P8541) - BASTENDORF (P8744) area, and on the MARNACH (P8063) - FISCHBACH (P8065) ridge, between 0515A - 0600A, the enemy launched a concerted attack along the entire Division front with infantry and tanks.

(a)  CT 109 Sector - Penetrations were made at WALSDORF (P8748), TANDEL (P8845), and South of BASTENDORF (P8844). By 1800A enemy pressure was con­tained in this sector. TANDEL remained in enemy hands.

(b)  CT 110 Sector - Penetrations were made at MERSCHEID (P8352), CONSTHUM (P7954), BOCKHOLTZ (P7958), and MARNACH (P8063). By nightfall the penetrations were contained, but heavy pressure continued at MARNACH, HOLZTHUM, and WAHLHAUSEN. 2d Battalion, 110th Infantry (- Company G), in Division Reserve, was released to regimental control and moved to high ground Northeast of CLERF. Company G, 110th Infantry was moved to vicinity of Division CP at WILTZ and remained in Division Reserve.


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(c) CT 112 Sector - Penetrations were made by enemy tanks and infantry, and the bridge at P858719 was seized. By dark the line had been restored except for small scattered pockets of enemy resistance.

(6)  During 17 Dec the enemy continued the attack in force throughout the Division sector.

(a)  In the southern part of the Division sector, 109th Infantry, with Company A, 103d Engineer Combat Battalion, Company C, 707th Tank Battalion, and 107th Field Artillery Battalion attached, met and contained all enemy penetrations. TANDEL (P8845) was retaken but LONGSDORF remained in enemy hands.

(b)  The enemy continued to infiltrate in the northern part of the sector and a task force made up of a platoon of Infantry, a Platoon of Tanks, and a Platoon of Engineers was sent to block the roads leading South from HOSCHEID.

(c)  In the central sector the 110th Infantry, with Company B, 103d Engineer Combat Battalion, Companies A and B, 707th Tank Battalion, 1st Reconnaissance Platoon, 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion, and 109th Field Artillery Battalion attached, was attacked throughout the day by strong enemy tank and infantry forces. The 1st Battalion held strong points in the sector, but was unable to stop enemy penetrations into CLERF (P7763). CLERF was cleared of enemy at 1130A, but by 1800A twenty-five (25) enemy tanks followed by infantry penetrated into CLERF, surrounded the Regimental CP, and brought direct tank fire to bear. Communications were lost and the situation with reference to Regimental Headquarters personnel was obscure. The 2d Battalion (- Company G) counterattacked from the high ground Northeast of CLERF towards MARNACH, but their situation was obscure due to encirclement by the enemy. Company G reverted to Regimental control at 1640A and was moved to the vicinity of ESELBORN (P7764). Elements of the 3d Battalion, 110th Infantry were organized into a strong point at CONSTHUM (P7954) by the Regimental Executive Officer [Lt. Col. DANIEL B. STRICKLER]. Contact with Company K, which was at HOSINGEN (P8259) was lost at about 1600A and at dark it was believed that the enemy held the town.

(d)  Early the morning of 17 Dec 44, Company D, 707th Tank Battalion attacked South from WEISWAMPACH along the ridge road toward MARNACH to relieve the situation there. They fought their way South against enemy numerical superiority in tanks and infantry and only after losing fifteen (15) light tanks did they withdraw.

(e)  In the northern sector the 112th Infantry with Company C, 103d Engineer Combat Battalion and 229th Field Artillery Battalion attached, withstood heavy enemy attacks throughout the day, but several penetrations had been made and under cover of darkness the 112th Combat Team withdrew to the West Bank of the OUR River and took up a defense of the river line in assigned sector.

(f)  Late in the evening of 17 Dec 44, the enemy penetrated to within three kilometers of the Division CP at WILTZ and the headquarters of the 707th Tank Battalion (P7656) was overrun by the enemy and they fought a delaying action towards WILTZ.


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(g)  The 44th Engineer Combat Battalion was given the mission of the defense of WILTZ and took up a defensive position around the city at 1800.

(7) Throughout 18 Dec 44 the fighting was fierce throughout the Division sector with the central sector (CT 110) being particularly hard hit.

(a)  In the 109th Sector, Companies F and G were forced to withdraw to the vicinity of LANDSCHEID (P845485) and heavy tank and infantry infiltration took place in the northern part of the sector. Under cover of dark­ness the 109th Infantry withdrew to the vicinity of DIEKIRCH (P868928) and took up a defensive position on the high ground around the city.

(b)  In the 110th Infantry Sector heavy tank and enemy pressure continued. Colonel THEODORE A. SEELEY assumed command of the regiment and organized elements of the 1st and 2d Battalions and CP personnel in a defensive position in the general vicinity of P685625. Elements of the 3d Battalion (about 200 men) under command of the Regimental Executive Officer [Lt. Col. DANIEL B. STRICKLER], after fighting a delaying action from CONSTHUM against superior enemy tank and infantry forces, at dark occupied a defensive position in the general vicinity of P755515.

(c)  In the 112th Infantry Sector the enemy attacked continually through­out the day and late in the day all communications to the Regiment were lost and the situation became obscure.

(d)  In the immediate vicinity of WILTZ the enemy at about 1500A, 18 Dec, started exerting pressure with tanks and infantry. The 44th Engineer Combat Battalion with the Division Provisional Defense Battalion, consisting of Military Police, Adjutant General Department, postal and finance clerks, Quartermaster personnel, and Division Headquarters personnel, met and con­tained the enemy in the vicinity of P720550 and at P725549. Headquarters personnel of the 28th Reconnaissance Troop and 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion, which were North of WILTZ, were engaged in heavy fighting with the enemy, and at 1800A all communications with these units were lost and their situation was unknown.

(8) (a)  Early on the morning of 19 Dec the Division CP moved to the vicinity of SIBRET and the 44th Engineer Combat Battalion with the Division Headquarters Provisional Defense Battalion remained in defense of WILTZ under command of Lieutenant Colonel THOMAS L. HOBAN. Enemy pressure increased at WILTZ and elements of the 3d Battalion, 110th Infantry were forced to fell back on WILTZ and Lieutenant Colonel DANIEL B. STRICKLER assumed command of WILTZ. At 1400 E the enemy attacked from the West, East, and North with tanks and infantry, the main thrust coming from the South. By nightfall ammunition supply was exhausted and the town of WILTZ was completely encircled with fighting going on in the outskirts of town. Orders were issued to fight a way out of the town and to assemble in the vicinity of the Division CP at SIBRET.

(b)  CT 112 was attached to the 106th Infantry Division for operations at 1600A, 19 Dec 44 after enemy penetrations made it impossible for the 28th Division Headquarters to exercise control over the Regiment.

(c)  CT 109 held their own against constant enemy attacks in the vicinity of DIEKIRCH, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy.  


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9 (a)  On 20 Dec 44 CT 109 was attached to the 9th Armored Div for operations as enemy infiltration prevented control by 28th Division Headquarters.

(b) Elements of the Division Headquarters and 110th Infantry prepared for the defense of SIBRET with General Staff Officers and clerical personnel manning the defenses. Artillerymen and Engineers filled the role of Infantry.  

(10)  Early on the morning of 21 December 1944 at about 0300A the enemy launched a determined tank and infantry attack against SIBRET. Numerical enemy superiority in tanks and infantry forced a withdrawal of our forces at SIBRET to VAUX-LES-ROSIERES. At VAUX-LES-ROSIERES elements of the Division Headquarters and 110th Infantry again assumed a defensive role. An enemy attack during the morning of 22 December 1944 was repulsed, but at dusk the enemy launched a strong tank and infantry attack causing a withdrawal under cover of darkness to NEUFCHATEAU. At NEUFCHATEAU elements of the Division Headquarters and 110th Infantry established a defensive position around NEUFCHATEAU. The defenses were manned by artillerymen and engineers acting as infantrymen and reinforcements from 445 AAA (AW) Bn and 635 AAA (AW) Bn and from elements of 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 707th Tank Battalion, and 602d Tank Destroyer Battalion.

(11)  During the period 23 December 1944 to 27 December 1944 elements of the 28th Infantry Divisions (- CTs 109 and 112) maintained a perimeter defense of the city of NEUFCHATEAU and continued reorganization.

(12)  On the 27th of December CT 109 reverted to Division control and closed in the vicinity of BIOURGE (P2640). The Division (- CT 112) with 7th Tank Destroyer Group attached assumed responsibility for the defense of LIBRAMONT (P3148) in addition to defense of NEUFCHATEAU and was assigned a sector by VIII Corps. The Division CP at NEUFCHATEAU was bombed at 1300A, 27 December causing such damage to the CP as to force a displacement.

(13)  On 28 December CT 109 was moved to the vicinity of LIBRAMONT  (the 7th Tank Destroyer Group was attached to the CT) and assumed responsibility for perimeter defense of the cities of RECOGNE (P2948) and LIBRAMONT (P3148) and patrolled aggressively to the North and Northeast.

(14)  During the period 29-31 December 1944 the Division (- CT 112), plus attachments, continued defense of the cities of NEUFCHATEAU, RECOGNE, and LIBRAMONT, and patrolled aggressively in zone, gaining and maintaining contact with units on the East and West.

(15)  On 30 December 1944 the 7th Tank Destroyer Group was relieved from attach­ment to the Division and reverted to VIII Corps control.

e. Combat Efficiency: Greatly reduced in strength, particularly in key personnel, both officers and enlisted men, and due to the fact that CT 112 is still detached from this Division and that this Division is at present in the process of reorganizing and refitting while at the seine time carrying out a Corps mission, the combat efficiency is unknown.


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f. Result of Operations: (1) During the period 1-15 December the Division main­tained a 25-mile defensive position, patrolled aggressively, and conducted training with reserve elements.

(2) From 16-31 December 1944 the Division initially met the full blow of at least six German divisions of Von RUNDSTEDT's offensive in their drive to the West across the OUR River. By fighting in place, until surrounded, with everything at the Division disposal, including artillery, engineers, headquarters personnel of all units to include Division Headquarters, and then fighting a way out to delay again, the Division gave the higher command four (4) days to bring forces to the vicinity of BASTOGNE and organize its defense. The action of the Division provided the necessary time to regroup forces to save the cities of BASTOGNE, ARLON, and LUXEMBOURG for the Allies.

3. a.  Status of strength and reinforcements needed: At the end of the period the 28th Infantry Division, less attached units, was understrength 206 officers, 8 war­rant officers, and 4557 enlisted men.

b.  Casualties: During; the month of December the following number of battle casualties were reported :

28th Infantry Division

 

KIA

DOW

DOI

SWA

SIA

LWA

LIA

MIA

TOTAL

EM

24

17

0

92

8

444

57

3509

4147

OFFS

0

0

0

8

0

26

9

162

205


Attached Units

 

KIA

DOW

DOI

SWA

SIA

LWA

LIA

MIA

TOTAL

EM

9

3

0

10

0

55

5

218

300

OFFS

0

0

0

1

0

4

0

11

16


In addition to the above, the command suffered the following number of non-battle casualties:

    OFIS   Mr,

    28th Infantry Division - 19 555

Attached Units   -   2  74

 

OFFS

EM

28th Infantry Division

19

555

Attached Units

2

74


c.  Prisoners captured: 1054

d.  (1) Evacuation of personnel during the period covered by this report was by the usual method, i.e., Medical Detachment to Collecting Companies. Because of the wide front held by the Division, a clearing platoon was split, and each section thereof located in the area of the North and South flanks, respectively. The second Clearing Platoon was placed in the rear of the middle CT. This Clearing Station was also used as a holding unit for casualties of a minor nature.

(2) After 17 Dec 1944, due to enemy action the Clearing Section with the CT on the North flank was consolidated with the abovementioned second Clearing platoon.


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(3)  Evacuation from 17 Dec 1944 to 31 Dec 1944, inclusive, was as follows:

(a)  CT on S flank: From Detachments; to Collecting; through Clearing Section; to Evac Hospital.

(b)  CT on N flank: From Detachments; to Collecting; to Med installations supporting the 106th Inf Div.

(c)  Remainder of Div: From Detachments; to Collecting; through clearing Plat (plus one (1) Clearing Sec) to Evac Hospital.

(4) During the period 17 to 31 Dec 1944, inclusive, and due to enemy action, the complete medical equipment of one (1) Infantry Detachment; one (1) Artillery Bn; and one (1) Clearing Sec was lost, and in addition six (6) ambulances of two (2) Collecting Companies.

e. (1) Location of Supply and Evacuation installations as of 31 Dec 1944: (See over­lay attached as Annex No. 7)

(2)  The supply agencies of this Division, during the period 1 to 18 Dec 1944, were located at WILTZ, LUXEMBOURG (QM, Chem, and Med) and ESCH-SUR-LA-SURE, LUXEMBOURG (Ord, Engr, and Sig). On 18 Dec due to enemy action, it was necessary to move the afore-mentioned supply agencies to a temporary assembly area approximately 10 miles NW of BASTOGNE, BELGIUM. The Rear Echelon of the Division; the Service Train of the 110th Inf; and part of the Service Train of the 112th. Inf were also assembled in this area. On 19 Dec, the supply agencies were moved to LIBRAMONT, BELGIUM, and the Division Rear Echelon was moved to RECOGNE, BELGIUM. The Service Train of the 110th Inf was moved S of RECOGNE, and the Service Train (approximately 200 men and 60 vehicles) of the 112th Inf was assembled at LONGLIER, BELGIUM. On Dec 20, the vehicles and men of the 112th Inf were dispatched to their organization.

(3)  On 22 Dec 1944 the Division supply agencies and Co D, 103d Med Bn, were moved to ST CECILE, BELGIUM, and remained there throughout the period of this report. In order to facilitate supply to units, a truckhead was established at NEUFCHATEAU, BELGIUM, from which all classes of supply were distributed to units. Also, on 22 Dec, the Division Rear Echelon was moved to MESSINCOURT, BELGIUM, and on 26 Dec this installation was moved to BREUILLES, FRANCE, and remained there throughout the period of this report.

f.  As all records of the Office of AC of S, G-4, were destroyed in order to prevent same from falling into enemy hands (1 to 20 Dec 1944, incl) ,the following is submitted as a brief summary of the events that affected status of supply during the month of December 1944.

(1)  The period 1 Dec 1944 through 16 Dec 1944 was spent reorganizing the Division; inspecting and maintaining of weapons and vehicles; establishing showers and laundry facilities for all personnel; and preparing roads for snow and ice condition.

(2)  As of 16 Dec 1944, the basic load of ammunition was on hand; all units had two reserve rations on hand; and, with few exceptions, all items of T/E equipment were on hand.


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(3)  Commencing 17 Dec 1944, with the breakthrough by the enemy in the Division area, the loss of equipment was very heavy. At the end of the period covered by this report, the following major items of equipment were short due to enemy action:


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(4)  Due to the loss of a considerable amount of transportation, it was impossible for units to transport their basic load of ammunition and two (2) days reserve ration, thereby making it necessary to establish a Division Truckhead as near forward as possible, in order to supply direct to units, organizations, and stragglers.

(5)  At the close of the period the supply agencies of the Division (Chemical Warfare; Engineer; Medical; Ordnance; Quartermaster; and Signal) were intact. Of their T/E equipment, the only major items of equipment which were lost were two (2) trucks, 1/4-ton, 4x4, and eight (8) trucks,  2˝ -ton, cargo. The efficiency of the above-mentioned installations was not affected by enemy action, thereby making it possible for them to continue their assigned missions.

(6)  As of 31 Dec 1944, units of the Division were being re-equipped; re-establishing their basic load of ammunition; and building up reserve of gasoline, oil, and two (2) days reserve rations as expeditiously as possible in proportion with availability of replacement items and T/E transportation.

g.  Roads and Circulation: (1) The road net over which the Division operated during the month of December 1944, presented no traffic or circulation problems.

(2)  Weather conditions, due to snow an ice, made it necessary for vehicles to use chains during a portion of the period covered by this report. Engineer elements of the Division marked the roads for identification in case of snowdrifts, and gravel was placed at vantage points along the roads (in dumps) and was used to provide traction whenever the road surface became frozen.


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For the Commanding General:

[signed]

J. L. GIBNEY,

Colonel, GSO,

Chief of Staff.


SOURCE: National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 407, Records of the U.S. Army Adjutant General, World War II Records, 28th Infantry Division, Operational Reports, Box 8479 .