Document Source
Operations of the 1st Battalion, 422nd Infantry Regiment, 106th Infantry Division (Golden Lion)
Vicinity of Schlausenbach, Germany, December 10-19 1944
Personal Experience of a battalion Executive Officer, Maj William P. Moon Jr

Photo EUCMHIntroduction

US VIII CorpsUS 1-ADuring the period September 1944 to December 1944, many changes in the disposition of the troops along the front were made in preparation for continuing the advance to the east. By Dec 9, the VIII Corps of the 1-A had taken over the US V Corpspositions of the V Corps along the Schnee Eifel with the mission of conducting an aggressive defense and be prepared to advance on Cologne on order. This was a sector extending from Monschau, on the extreme north, to a point where the Moselle River crosses the Franco-German boundary at the northeast corner of Luxembourg. This sector comprised a front of approximately 100 miles.
US 2-IDUS 99-IDSince there had been very little enemy activity, either than minor patrols, and it was known that the Germans were using this sector for indoctrinating green troops to the sounds of battle, it was dubbed the quiet sector.
US AAA-AW Schnee EifelUS 28-IDUS 83-IDThis sector was defended by a task force and three infantry divisions abreast. The 2-ID on the north occupied a salient in the Siegfried Line along the high wooded Schnee Eifel Ridge. Task Force X was attached to the 2-ID and occupied a five miles front north of the Schnee Eifel positions and maintained contact with the 99-ID (V Corps) on its left. The 28-ID defended the center section along the Our River on the right of the 2-ID and the 83-ID defended the southern part of the sector along the Our River to its confluence with the Moselle River and thence up the Moselle to the boundary between the VIII and the XX Corps of the 3-A.

US 9-ADThe 9th Armored Division which had no combat experience was placed in Corps reserve and used this period to rotate its infantry units in the division front lines to gain a little more combat experience.

General Situation

The 106-ID landed at Le Havre, France on Dec 6, 1944, and moved by a succession of motor marches across France and Belgium. On Dec 8-10, the division closed in an assembly area in the snow-covered Ardennes Forest in the 2-ID sector near St Vith. The division was assigned to the VIII Corps and was to be given an opportunity to gain combat experience by occupying defensive positions in the relatively quiet sector of the VIII Corps, partly in Germany and partly in Belgium. The 106-ID was to relieve the veteran 2-ID, attached to Task Force X and in one defensive position in the northern sector of the VIII Corps along the Schnee Eifel Ridge. The 2-ID was being attached to the V Corps in preparation for an attack in the area of the Roer Dams.

Snow Covered FieldsAttached to the 106-ID was the 18-CRS and the 32-CRS, both from the 14-CG. These squadrons were to take over the sector occupied by Task Force X now attached to 2-ID and maintain contact between the 106-ID and the 99-ID on the north. The disposition of troops for the 106-ID was to be elements of the 14-CG and the 422-IR on the north, the 423-IR in the center, and the 424-IR, less one battalion, on the south. One battalion of the 424-IR was to be in division reserve.
The enemy, as known to the Division CG at this time, consisted of elements of the partly trained 18.Volksgrenadier-Division and the 26.Volksgrenadier-Division and their supporting artillery. Two panzer divisions were also reported to be somewhere in reserve. It was believed that these panzer divisions were held in reserve in case of an attack by the VIII Corps. The combat efficiency of the German troops in comparison with the 106-ID was estimated as generally the same since the 106-ID had no combat experience and a definite pattern had shown that for the past month the comparatively quiet sector in front of the VIII Corps had been used by the Germans for seasoning newly formed divisions.
This particular area of the Schnee Eifel is a hogback ridge, characterized by high plateaus, deeply enclosed valleys, and a restricted road net. This area is heavily wooded with steep ravines and ridges running to the east and west. The road net consisted of narrow dirt roads in poor condition running generally north and south along the ridge. Due to the snow and ice at this time some of the roads were almost impassable. The fortifications of the Siegfried Line ran generally along the crest of the Schnee Eifel. These fortifications consisted of concrete pillboxes, dug-in gun positions, and foxholes. The weather was cold, the ground covered with snow and ice, and snow falling intermittently. The sky was cloudy and dull and a heavy mist hung about the tops of the trees. The supply situation throughout the Corps was normal except for a shortage of Prestone tires, PX rations, miscellaneous signal equipment, shoes, overshoes, and raincoats.

Disposition and Plan of the 422-IR

On Dec 9, the 422-IR closed in its assembly area in the Ardennes Forest in the vicinity of St Vith. On order from HQs 106-ID, the 422-IR and its supporting 589-FAB (105-MM) would relieve the 9-IR and its 15-FAB (105-MM). This order stated that the 422-IR was to take over from the 9-IR, man for man and gun for gun, on or about Dec 11 and continue the defense. The 422’s plan for the relief was as follows: the 2/422 would relieve the 2/9, on the north, the 1/422 would relieve the 2/23, which had relieved the 1/9 on Dec 4 so it could go to a rest area at Steinebruck in the center. The 3/422 would relieve the 3/9 on the south. The regiment would move by motor from its present position at 0900 Dec 10 to execute the relief. The battalions would move in the following order 2/422, 1/422, and 3/422.

Divisions Situation (approx) December 16 1944

Siegfried LineDisposition and Plan of the 1/422-IR

Well after dark on Dec 9, after another all-day motor march in open trucks, freezing weather, and in a blinding snowstorm, the 1/422 closed in its assembly area in the Ardennes Forest in the vicinity of St Vith. The Battalion was met by guides from the quartering party, the Battalion Commander, and the Company Commander. The Battalion Commander, his party, and Company Commanders had gone forward earlier in the day to have their first look at the positions they were to take over the following day. The blinding snow, that was falling, and the restriction on the use of lights made it very difficult for the men to follow their guides. Some of them were separated from their units and found their way to other company areas. It was the next morning before the companies could reassembly.

The battalion kitchens, which had been under regimental control since the march began, had arrived a few hours earlier and had hot coffee waiting for the men. This was indeed a treat and morale booster. Even though the morale of the troops was high, the fatigue of the long motor marches across France in open trucks in rain and snow, the lack of hot meals, and no opportunity to change to dry clothes tended to lower the combat efficiency of the unit as a whole. At this time, the battalion was approximately up to TO&E strength. The Battalion Commander’s orders were to relieve the 1/23-IR, then attached to the 9-IR, man for man, gun for gun. The kitchens were to move up in the vicinity of the Company’s CP and the men’s duffel bags would be up later.

The Battalion CO oriented his staff as to the situation. The enemy forces opposing the positions were not positively identified at this time but, it was a quiet sector and the activity was limited to light patrolling. The battalion was to take over positions on the eastern slope of the Schnee Eifel. This slope was steep and heavily wooded. The few available roads were in poor condition, covered with snow and mud. Positions consisting of foxholes and squad shelters, most of them full of mud or water, had been prepared previously by other units. There were minefields and barbed wire entanglements out to the front. Trip flares and antipersonnel mines were scattered along the front in the gaps between occupied positions.

The Battalion CO’s plan for the relief of the 1/23-IR, was company for company; Charlie on the left, Baker in the center and Able on the right. Baker would take over the positions of Dog Company (1/23) and Battalion HQs Co would relieve Battalion HQs Co (1/23), installation for installation. The Company COs had received their orders for the relief while on recon with the Battalion CO earlier in the day. The battalion was to be ready to move by trucks at 0900 Dec 10.

Narration – The Relief

Early in the cold gray dawn of Dec 10, the 1/422, still wet, cold and tired, from its motor march across France and Belgium, dug itself out of the snow in its bivouac area in the vicinity of St Vith. After a skimpy hot breakfast, companies were formed and began preparations for the move to the front lines. Men and equipment were checked, the men counted off and truck numbers assigned. Approximately fifteen or twenty men had to be evacuated to the rear because of trench foot. This was caused by the lack of dry socks and overshoes. Last-minute police of the area were made and the companies formed. The battalion was formed in the woods, ready to move, but as often happens in motor moves, the trucks had not arrived. After waiting approximately two hours, stomping around in the snow to keep warm, the trucks arrived. The battalion was loaded and the movement to the front began.

Snow and Ice, Cold and WetThe road was rough and covered with ice and snow. This slowed down the movement of the column and it was late in the afternoon before it finally stopped in the vicinity of the CP of the 1/23 (2-ID). This command post was located on the western slope of the Schnee Eifel in a German pillbox in the Siegfried Line at a crossroad about 3000 yards east of Schlausenbach, Germany, and about a mile from the front line positions which were located on the eastern slope of the ridge.

The battalion was met by the CO of the 1/23, his staff, and one officer from each of his companies. The battalion detrucked and its units marched the last mile to their front line positions, guided by one officer per company and one non-com officer per platoon left by the 1/23.

Some of the men of the 23-IR were already formed, waiting to load on the trucks that brought the 1/422 up and start their movement to the rear. Several remarks were made by these men as to how lucky we were to be moving into this quiet sector. It was better than a rest camp, according to them, there was no close order drill up here.

The relief was made without incident and it was well after dark when the last positions were finally taken over. It was to be another cold sleepless night for most of the battalion.
The kitchens were brought forward and set up several hundred yards behind the front line positions in the vicinity of the Company CP.

Same period and couple of Kms northward of the 106-ID, in the 99-ID sectorA meal was prepared, mostly hot coffee and cold sandwiches, and the feeding began. The men ate in shifts, a few from each squad sector at a time. It was well toward midnight when the feeding was completed. In spite of the fact that the men had been told that this was a quiet sector and that they had nothing to worry about, most of them were a little nervous and jittery. This could be expected since it was their first time in battle positions and they had only been on the Continent for five days.

The night passed without any activity from the enemy, but, one of Able Co’s Officers and a guide that was left to show the men their positions were shot and slightly wounded by one of Able Co’s outposts while they were checking positions. As stated before, the men were a little jittery. Schedules of patrols, overlays of their routes, the front line positions, and final protective fires were turned over and explained to the unit commanders by the officers left behind by the 23-IR (2-ID). All information concerning enemy positions, activity, and that pertinent to the friendly positions, patrols, and terrain were turned over to the respective unit commanders.

At 2045 Dec 10, the relief was finally completed gun for gun, and man for man. The companies were disposed of as follows: Charlie, northern sector; Baker, center sector; Able, southern sector, and Dog, in general support

Warning - the main layer of the map is modern but there wasn't almost any change in this area since the end of WW-2 - The purpose of this map is to allow the reader and the visitors of the area to be rightly directed to the area. Meanwhile, notice that the map if purely informative, as well as approximative

Snow and IceThe Defense

The battalion was defending a front of approximately 3500 yards, running generally along the eastern base of the Schnee Eifel. The terrain was very rough, consisting of a series of wooded ridges and gullies running generally east and west. In some places, heavily wooded ridges ran well out in front of the positions.

The terrain in front of the positions, between these jutting wooded ridges, was generally rolling open fields. Fields of fire across these areas were generally good and the wooded rough terrain offered good cover and concealment for the defensive positions.

Due to this extended frontage and the terrain, it was necessary to employ all of the rifle companies and all of their platoons in front line positions. This left only a few administrative personnel and cooks in reserve. The positions were organized in a series of squad and platoon strong points and outposts. The gaps between, in some cases over a hundred yards in width, were covered by fire and roving patrols.

Mortar, cannon, and artillery concentrations were plotted to cover all of the gaps and dead spaces to the front. The heavy machine guns were employed behind the front lines higher up on the slope of the ridge. These were used to assist in covering the gaps and as breakthrough guns or reserves, in case the line was penetrated. They constituted the defense-in-depth and could support the front line positions, to some extent, with overhead plunging fire.

Battle of the Bulge but not 106-ID (81-MM Mortar Illustration)The 81-MM mortars were employed by section on the western slope of the ridge so as to give maximum support to the battalion. All of these positions were inherited from the 9-IR (2-ID). They consisted mostly of one and two-man foxholes, most of them built up with logs and covered with dirt. Some squad shelters had been constructed of logs and covered with dirt. Although the floors were muddy, they offered some protection from small arms fire and the weather.

Activity for the next five days, Dec 11-15, consisted primarily of patrolling to the front and flanks, improving defensive positions, registering the mortars, and catching up on administrative work. Enemy action consisted of sporadic artillery fire and minor patrol activity. The weather remained cold, wet and foggy. During this period the trench foot rate increased and many men were evacuated. This was due primarily to the lack of overshoes. The supply of overshoes was critical and although the supply personnel did all in their power to get them, there were not enough for all of the men. Every time a man was evacuated from the front lines it left an empty foxhole and since there were no reserves, this increased the gaps in the now overextended front line and reduced the combat efficiency of the units as a whole.

During the night of Dec 15-16 enemy activity increased. More patrols were observed and there was a definite increase in the sound of moving vehicles in the vicinity of Wascheid, to the front. The battalion S-2 reported to regiment the movement of enemy convoys along the front and was criticized for reporting movement of convoys, he was told that motors were the correct word since all that had been heard was automotive engines.

On the morning of Dec 16, at 0530, heavy artillery and mortar fire began to fall all along with the front line positions and on units well to the rear. This fire continued until 0615. At approximately 0800, an estimated company of Germans attacked the battalion positions in Baker Co’s area. The Germans advanced across the open fields in what appeared to be a column of platoons in line, with some elements working their way up the wooded ridges that jutted out to the front. Riflemen and machine guns opened fire, mortar fire was called for and placed on the wooded ridges and by approximately 1000 the main attack was stopped. During this action, several small patrols succeeded in infiltrating through Baker Co’s lines. One of these of approximately eight or ten men dressed in white snowsuits succeeded in getting within approximately 100 yards of the CP before they were either killed or taken prisoner.

German Soldier in White Camo ParkaThe company cooks and administrative personnel were all fightings in defense of the CP. It was approximately 1700 before all of these patrols were eliminated – either killed or taken prisoner.
The prisoners were immediately taken back to Battalion HQs for processing. One man in the group, an officer, had a copy of the German attack order. The attack order was translated, in part, by a German-speaking corporal assigned to Battalion HQs, and it was found that this action was no minor patrol activity, but part of a large scale offensive. The regiment was immediately notified by telephone and the order was sent back by special motor messenger. The prisoners were sent back as soon as possible.

Baker Co’s casualties for the day’s action were comparatively light, five men slightly wounded and one officer killed. The enemy lost approximately twenty-five captured, an undetermined number wounded and it was estimated that better than half of the company were killed. There was no further enemy activity reported in the battalion area during the remainder of that day and night, however, there was an increase in the number of Buzz Bombs that came flying over. Previously there had been only one or two a night.

The morning of Dec 17, brought increased activity along the entire front of the 106-ID. At 0800 the Germans launched another attack in the 1/422 sector, this time in Charlie’s sector. This attack was similar to the attack in Baker Co’s sector the day before and with the assistance of the battalion’s mortars and heavy machine guns, was repulsed about 1300. Eight of the men from Charlie Co were wounded and none killed. Approximately thirty Germans were captured and many more killed or wounded. It was the morning of Dec 17, when Battalion HQs first learned of the magnitude of the German offensive.

On Dec 16, the Germans had attacked in force along the entire division front. A large force, reinforced with tanks, had attacked in the Losheim area to the north that was thinly held by the 14-CG and the southern flank of the 99-ID. This force had broken through the defenses and elements were advancing south down the road, from Auw toward Schlausenbach, our Regimental HQs. Another large force had broken through the defenses between the 423-IR and the 424-IR to the south and was advancing to the northeast toward Schlausenbach and St Vith. The 422-IR, the 423-IR, and part of the 424-IR were completely encircled. The 598-FAB, supporting the 422-IR, had taken a terrific beating from the German Artillery on the morning of Dec 16 and was forced to abandon its positions. The regiment’s supply routes had been cut off and there was no means of resupplying food and ammunition, other than by AirDrop. This was requested but never received due to weather conditions.

An American killed SoldierThe Regimental AT and Cannon Cos had taken up defensive positions north of Schlausenbach to protect the Regimental CP and try to stop the German advance from the north. Early in the morning of Dec 17, the 2/422 on the left of the 1/422, was pulled back and now was in a position to the right of Cannon Co, facing to the northward generally along the Mertesberg Heights from Schlausenbach on the left to Hill 636 in the Schnee Eifel on the right.

In its hurried move early in the morning, the 2/422 had to abandon its kitchens and duffel bags, there was no transportation available to move them. This caused a gap between the 1 and 2/422 running from the front line positions west to the top of the Schnee Eifel. A composite provisional rifle company was formed from elements of the 3/422 on the south and sent up to fill the gap that now existed between the 1st and 2nd Battalions. A platoon of Charlie Co pulled back from its front line positions on the left of the battalion and tied in with the composite company.

Around noon, from the Battalion CP, German vehicles including ambulances and foot troops were observed moving down the road from Kobsheid to Schlausenbach. A battery of German horse-drawn artillery was observed going into firing positions in an open field in the vicinity of Kobsheid to the rear of the battalion positions. Artillery and cannon fire were called for, but there was none to be had. Both units were out of firing positions.

A German killed SoldierAn 81-MM mortar, from Dog Co was brought back from its position covering the front and set up to fire to the rear. One round, with eight increments on it, was fired at the artillery battery, but it was never seen when it landed. Ammunition was very low so this was the only round fired.

At approximately 1630, artillery began to fall around the CP of the 1/422. The CP was in a German pillbox that had had some additional rooms built of logs and covered with dirt added to it. One round hit just outside of the addition and blew a hole in one side. One of the logs from the wall crashed inside and struck the Battalion CO on the back of his head, critically wounding him, he died the next day while being evacuated. The Regiment was notified and the Battalion Executive Officer was told to take command. One enlisted man was slightly wounded and the CP was set afire.

Since the German artillery had fired on the CP and elements of Battalion HQs Co that were located hereby, the CP and the elements of Battalion HQs Co in that vicinity were moved to another pillbox approximately five hundred yards to the south. This pillbox was occupied by the artillery liaison officer and his party. It was very crowded, and practically every-one spent a sleepless night. No meals had been served from the kitchen since that morning. There was no further enemy activity in the 1st Battalion area for the remainder of the night.

The Withdrawal

At 0900 Dec 18, the Battalion was messaged to send an officer to the Regimental HQs for orders. The S-3 was sent and returned with word that the regiment was going to withdraw in the direction of Schoenberg, in an effort to break through the German encirclement.
The Initial Point was the crossroads at the old 1/422’s CP location and the movement was to be down the road to the south. The order of march was the foot troops of 2/422, Regimental HQs, 1/422, and 3/422. The time of crossing the Initial Point was 1200.

Element of Manteuffel's 5.Panzer-Army moving ahead Dec 17 1944The motors were to move under regimental control by a different route and be picked in the vicinity of Schoenberg later. This included all communication equipment except the SCR 300s and SCR 536s, leaving no communications with the Regiment. Radio or telephone was not to be used to notify the front line companies of the movement since wires had been tapped on several occasions during the last twenty-four hours.

The S-3 was immediately sent, by Jeep, to give the movement orders to the front line companies. They were to take with them all the ammunition and food they could carry. Both were in short supply at this time, since no trucks had been able to get through to the rear for replacements. We were completely encircled by German troops and armor. The kitchens and all other equipment were to be destroyed with as little noise as possible and left behind. The heavy weapons were to be hand-carried and the companies were to move out as soon as possible. The order to march for the Battalion was: Charlie Co, 1 Sec Dog Company, Baker Co, 1 Plat Dog Company, Battalion HQs, Dog Company (-), Able Co, 1 Sec Dog Company.

Able Co was to constitute the rear guard for the Battalion. So, at 1200, the 2/422 and the Regimental HQs Co started passing the IP. Due to the distance from the front line positions of the 1/422 to the IP, the troops did not arrive in time to follow the 2/422. The 2/422 and the Regimental HQs continued to move, leaving a large gap where the 1/422 should have been as the column passed the 3/422 area to the South. The 3/422 fell in the column following the 2/422. By the time the 3/422 had cleared its assembly area the 1/422 had arrived and fell in behind them, bringing up the rear.

Once started the movement to the rear was very slow. There were frequent stops to check compass directions and to recon to the front for possible enemy positions. There had been no recon and the movement was entirely by compass direction only. The location of enemy troops was not known and there was always a possibility of ambush. Although the column moved only approximately three miles before it stopped in its assembly area in a small patch of woods just west of Oberlascheid, it was getting dark when the 1/422 closed in its small sector of the regimental area.

Immediately upon arrival in the assembly area, Battalion COs were ordered to report to the regimental CP for orders. Upon arriving at the CP they were oriented as to their present location on their maps and given the location of their final assembly areas for the attack the next morning by the Regimental S-3. The Regimental CO gave the attack order.
The strength and location of the enemy in the vicinity of Schoenberg was unknown.

Bulge - IllustrationThe 423-IR was to attack on the left of the 422-IR from the south. Their location at this time was not known since contact had been lost earlier in the day. The mission was to capture Schönberg and continue the withdrawal to the west in an effort to break through the German encirclement. The regiment was to attack three battalions abreast. The 3/422 was to try and gain contact with the 423-IR on its left. The direction of attack was to be generally northwest until within approximately 1000 yards to Schoenberg, then it was to change direction and attack to the west. The 1/422 was to cross the Schoenberg – Andler road and attack to the southwest. Its zone of attack was bounded on the left by the Schoenberg – Andler road and on the right by the Auw River.

In the event the 3/422 was pinched off by the 423-IR, which was attacking from the south, it would follow the 2/422 and be prepared to attack in either the first or second Battalions zone. The battalions were to move individually cross-country by compass direction to their final assemble areas which had been designated by the regimental S-3: 1/422 – Woods B, 2/422 – Woods E, 3/422 – Woods D, and be prepared to launch the attack at 0700 on Dec 18.

At approximately 1830, the 1/422 started its move by compass direction only to its final assembly area in Woods B, a distance of approximately 1800 yards. It was rough going cross country with the ground covered with ice and snow. Like the regimental march, there had been no recon and the direction was by compass only. There were frequent stops to allow patrols to search the area to the front for any enemy before it moved. This gave the men a little time for a much-needed rest. They had been hand carrying their heavy weapons and all the ammunition they could since the march started. Even though they were tired, cold, and hungry, their morale was excellent and their spirits high.

It was approximately 2400 when the battalion finally closed in the little patch of woods that was its final assembly area. The companies were assigned sectors and each was responsible for its own security, tying-in with units on their right and left. Since this patch of woods was so small, hardly large enough for a company to disperse in, much less a battalion, there was no difficulty in coordinating the security. There were no foxholes and the men were too tired to dig so they slept on the ground into the snow. The area was so small that there was little room for dispersion and the men were bunched up. The 2/422 had closed in its final assembly area in Woods E and was contacted by a patrol from the 1/422, there was no communication between battalions or from battalions to regiment. The battalions were on their own.

The battalion attack order was given at approximately 0045. The battalion would attack Schoenberg from its present position in Woods B, its area of departure, at 0730 Dec 19, seize that part of the town in its gone and continue the attack to the south toward St Vith. The attack was to be in a column of companies in the following order: Charlie with a section of machine guns from Dog, Baker with a section of machine guns from Dog, Battalion HQs, Dog (-) and Able would bring up the rear. Able was to furnish a patrol for protection of the right flank, which was exposed. The direction of the attack was to be to the northeast until the leading elements crossed the Schoenberg – Auw road and then southeast toward Schoenberg. After crossing the road, the battalion zone was bounded on the left by the road and the Auw River on the right.
The 2/422 was to be on the left. The men were cautioned to use sparingly the little water and food that they had, those that had it, as there was no more to be had at this time.

At 0700, Dec 19, a messenger was sent to contact the 2/422 to see if it was ready to start the attack at 0730. The messenger returned stating that the battalion was ready. At 0730, Charlie moved out of the woods leading the attack. Its leading elements had advanced approximately 400 yards when it was pinned down by machine-gun and rifle fire from a house approximately 150 yards to its right flank. The section of machine guns from Dog was set up in the edge of Woods B and opened fire on the house. The enemy fire stopped and approximately a dozen German soldiers ran from the house and disappeared over a ridge to its rear. Charlie then continued its advance.

The 2/422 on the left started its advance on time and moved up an open draw to its front. This draw was fairly deep and offered good cover from the flanks. They had not received any enemy fire during their advance and by the time Charlie had resumed its advance the 2/422 had cleared the road running northeast from Radscheid. By this time the leading elements of Charlie had crossed the road and made contact with the 2/422 in a draw on the other side. Charlie Co’s Commander, using his SCR 300 reported to the 1/422 CO that he had made contact with the 2/422 and was continuing the advance. The last elements of Charlie had just left the assembly area when four German tanks came rolling down the Radscheid road on the right flank and opened fire on the remainder of the 1/422 in Woods B. The men in the woods did not have any foxholes and as stated before were bunched close together because of the small area of the woods that was the final assembly area.

Due to this situation, it was believed that there would be many unnecessary casualties if the battalion remained in the woods, under fire from the tanks, so it was decided to withdraw to the rear and try to advance up the draw that the 2/422 had used. This offered good cover and concealment from the flanks and more room for dispersion.

The battalion, less Charlie, withdrew and started to advance up the draw. The leading elements had just crossed the road when tanks moved up from the rear and opened fire. The battalion was pinned down out in the open but dispersed. The tanks that were on the right flank moved down the road and opened fire from the right flank. There were some foot troops with the tanks at this time and they were firing machine pistols and rifles. A section of heavy machine guns from Dog Co was set up and started firing on the foot troops. They fired for about thirty seconds before they were knocked out by a 75-MM from the tanks. A rocket launcher team with its two rounds of ammunition, that was all it had tried to get in a position to fire but was knocked out of action by the tanks. The riflemen were returning all the fire they could, but rifle fire cannot stop tanks. This fire continued for about twenty minutes, causing many casualties and would have continued until the entire battalion was wiped out if someone had not waved a white handkerchief and started walking toward the tanks. The firing slowed down and other men joined the white flag. During this lull in the tank fire some of the men, the Battalion CO, and his staff made a run over road and escaped, only to be captured two days later while with remnants of several other units, they were defending another small patch of woods. The remainder of the battalion was either killed or captured.

This brought to a conclusion the actions of the 1/422-IR, in the Battle of the Bulge. In summary, the 1/422, fresh from the States and with no combat experience took over a defensive sector of approximately 3500 yards along rugged terrain in adverse weather conditions and held it against two major attacks. It withdrew only on orders from higher headquarters and made a successful day and night march of approximately six miles cross country, by compass direction only, hand-carrying its weapons, and started an attack on the town of Schoenberg. Although the battalion failed in its attack and was, either destroyed or captured it is believed that its actions during the entire time it was committed in the front lines assisted in slowing down the largest German offensive during the entire period of the war. This action caused the Germans to commit forces and expend ammunition and materiel which otherwise could have been used in his main attack toward the east.

Gen Courtney H. Hodges, First Army Commander, said of the troops the 106th’s stand: No troops in the world disposed as your division had to be could have withstood the impact of the German attack which had its greatest weight in your sector. Please tell these men for me what a grand job they did. By the delay they effected they definitely upset von Rundstedt’s timetable.

Previous articleOSS WW-2 Initialism, Abbreviation, Acronym
Next articleAlaska in World War Two