244th Field Artillery Battalion
XX Corps was disposed with the 5th Infantry Division on the south flank, in contact with 80th Infantry Division (XII corps), the 95th Infantry Division, and the 90th Infantry Division disposed along the corps front and the 10th Armored Division on the corps north flank. The 10th Infantry Division), (5th Infantry Division), which was attached to the 95th Infantry Division, reverted to the 5th Infantry Division. Task Force Fickett (6th Cavalry Group reinforced) was attached to 5th Infantry Division and began assembly in the vicinity of Carling (Q26), on right flank of the 95th Infantry Division. Gains of about one mile were made by 10th Infantry (5th Infantry Division) in the vicinity of Carling (Q26), four miles north of St. Avold (Q25). The remainder of the division continued to exert maximum pressure on the Metz (U85) forts. Just to the north, the 95th Infantry Division launched an attack supported by tank destroyers, with elements capturing Berus (Q27), three and one-half mile southwest of Saarlautern (Q28), while others were two miles due west of the city. Straightening its front lines with minor gains to the north, the 90th Infantry Division cleared Mondorf (Q19), two miles southwest of Merzig (Q29). The 357th Infantry (90th Infantry Division) cleared Siersdorf (Q28), four and one-half miles northwest of Saarlautern (Q28), and pushed patrols to Rehlingen (Q28) on the Saar River four miles north of Saarlautern (Q28). On the north corps boundary, Combat Command “B” (10th Armored Division) took Hilbringen Q19), just west of Merzig (Q29), and continued to straighten its lines. Combat Command “A” relieved Combat Command “B” at the end of the period, with Combat Command “B” moving to a concentration area north of Remeling (Q09). Task Force “B” moving to a concentration area north of Remeling (Q09). Task Force POLK continued active patrolling on the corps north flank.
As the Third U.S. Army moved into the Siegfried Line defenses in early December, the enemy laid down the most intense artillery fire experienced since the Third U.S. Army became operational. In the bridgeheads across the Saar River Saarlautern (Q-28) – Dillingen (Q-28) the XX U.S. Corps received intense artillery fire practically twenty-four hours a day. The enemy employed a new type of noise and flash suppressor which made the location of enemy artillery positions by flash and sound devices extremely difficult.
Road signs reads Metz Center
“B” Battery had been detached from the Battalion to learn how to operate “Alligators” (LVT 1, Landing Vehicle Tracked). For a week they practiced on the Moselle River and then went into action ferrying supplies across the Saar River near Saarlautern. The bridgeheads were small and each crossing meant ducking artillery and small arms fire. Somehow, miraculously’ they completed ‘their mission without a man lost.
Note: LVT 1, Landing Vehicle Tracked Model 1
The Battalion, less Battery “B”, was still attached to the 5th Infantry Division at Metz (vU849562) with the primary mission of reinforcing the fires of the 19th Field Artillery Battalion on Forts Plappeville, St. Quentin, Jeanne d‘Arc and Driant, the remaining four Metz Forts which continue to resist.
The Battalion, less Battery “B”, was in position at (vU849562) Metz with Battery “A” armed with 10.5cm Light Field Howitzers, Battery “C” with 7.62cm Modified Russian Field Cannon and Headquarters Battery, as Battery “D”, with 8.8cm Pak 43 Guns. The Batteries were laid to fire on Forts St. Quentin, Plappeville, Jeanne d‘Arc and Driant (Groupe Fortifié Driant), which still were resisting. Ft. St. Privat had surrendered unconditionally on 30 November 1944.
The Battalion less “B” Battery at Metz (vU849562). Battery “B” with 55th Combat Engineers Battalion at Sierck-Les Bains (vU9895). Battalion continued its mission of supporting artillery fire on four forts still resisting, i.e. Forts Plappeville, St. Quentin, Jeanne d’Arc and Driant. 174 harassing missions, including 9 TOT’s and 2 Registrations fired. Ammo Expended 1059 rounds. Battalion Commander made inspection of gun positions.
Observation of the Forts was extremely limited. Bad weather permitted limited use of Air Op’s which provide all the observation we had as the Forts were on high ground and ground OP’s to observe them were conspicuous by their absence. Despite the lack of favorable weather, we were able to get at least one check registration daily.
1st LT. Max L. Garland Air Op’s Headquarters Battery, 1st LT. Ernest Hendry, C Battery
On December 1, 1944, the Germans surprised us with their “Ardennes Offensive.” We were ordered from our position in the Saar Basin and proceeded to Luxemburg to take the southern half of the “Bulge.” Two powerful German Armies had gathered and reequipped for the offensive, including nine Panzer Divisions. Bad weather covered them, preventing our forces from conducting air raids, while helping the Germans with their secret movements. This would become known as the Battle of the Bulge.
We continued our march toward Germany and passed thru the Hurtgen Forest. It was located along the German-Belgium border, and was about 50 square miles. It was thickly wooded with fir trees, twenty to thirty feet tall. They blocked the sun, and the forest floor was dark and damp. The fir trees interlocked at their low branches so everyone had to stoop all the time. It had lots of ridges and deep gorges, formed by the many streams and rivers. The Battle of the Hurtgen Forest was fought under conditions as bad as any we had ever had to face. It was an eerie place to fight. You couldn’t see, and you couldn’t get any protection. Everything was tangled, and it was hard to walk. We were cold and wet, and a mixture of cold rain and sleet kept falling. Our tanks could barely move on the muddy roads, and the roads were also heavily mined. My buddy Bill Morris had his “Cat” slide off the road, and down the hillside. It took 3 other Cats with wenches to pull his back on the road. He was not hurt, and the Cat was ok as well. We could not use air artillery, but neither could the Germans. This battle lasted 90 days. There were more than 24,000 combat casualties. It was from November 1st thru December 15, 1944. During this time, and later during the “Battle of the Bulge”, we didn’t have time to shave, or to do much bathing. When we could, every week or two, we would wash out our socks in our helmets using gasoline in place of water. This would be the only time during the war I would remove my boots. When we were able to move back from the front lines, we’d put water in our helmets, and bathe. It wasn’t often that we could do that, plus it was too cold.
Well, after the war, my wife had received a letter from Sam Fink, a cannoneer from the first gun section, who had surprisingly taken a lot of pictures in — well, in combat and asked my wife if she would like some of the copies of them, and she wrote back yes, and this was all unbeknownst to me, and I received them and I was so happy to get some of the pictures. But she had an Uncle Max Nothelenrilpy (ph) from Keene, New Hampshire, who had lived in Germany and moved back to the United States after World War I, and so I took these pictures over to show Uncle Max, and of course, he had had a shock and was in bed, and he was very excited. He saw some of these pictures and on the secrete line and different areas and the rivers. He came to the picture of the barracks in Metz where we had been firing — B Battery had been firing their guns, and Uncle Max almost jumped out of bed. He — he said, “Do you know this is where I was stationed in World War I in the German Army?” I said to myself, boy, this is a small world.
Task Force Fickett (6th Cavalry Group, reinforced) occupied positions along the XX Corps south flank after relieving elements of the 10th Infantry (5th Infantry Division) near Carling (Q26), four miles north of Saint-Avold (Q25). Some elements of the 5th Infantry Division gained over a mile in the vicinity of Wilhelmsbrown (Q26) seven miles north of Saint-Avold (Q25) while the remainder of the division contained those forts holding out west of Metz (U85). Preceded by aerial bombardment and artillery preparation, the 95th Infantry Division advanced in its zone from one to two miles, captured Niederlimberg (Q28), one and one-half miles northwest of Saarlautern (Q28) and Itzbach (Q28), four miles northwest of Saarlautern (Q28). The 379th Infantry (95th Infantry Division) attacked Saarlautern (Q28) and pushed into the western part or the town, making minor gains in house-to-house fighting. Corps heavy artillery fired in support of troops engaged in the street fighting. When one side of a street was cleared, 8-inch howitzers and 240 mm howitzers were adjusted by forward observers upon the buildings on the opposite side of the street until a breach was effected. Infantry then dashed into the breached building and cleared the street house by house. Enemy pillboxes and fortified houses were destroyed by 155 mm guns.
Neuforweiler (Q27) and Bisten (Q27), south of Saarlautern (Q28), were cleared by the 378th Infantry (95th Infantry Division), while other elements of the division captured a bridge intact across the Saar River. Pickard (Q27) and Beaumaris (Q27) were captured during this drive. Elements of the 35th Infantry (90th Infantry Division) advanced one mile and occupied Rehlingen (Q28), on the west bank of the Saar River, four miles north of Saarlautern (Q28). The 359th Infantry began relieving elements of the 357th Infantry Combat Command “A” (10th Armored Division) cleared Dreisbach (Q19), four miles northwest of Merzig (Q29), while Combat Command “B” closed into an assembly area in the vicinity of Montenach (Q09), ten miles northeast of Thionville (U88).
Your Christmas box arrived here in marvelous condition. You’ll never know how good the candy bars “were”. I was so hungry for candy like that that I almost hid in the John to eat’ em all at once. My fine, generous self-came to the front so I shared them with a couple of others – maybe they’ll get a box too sometime!! The sox are heaven sent – I sure can use them with the cold weather we’re having. Guess I’ll have to catch a cold so I’ll use the hankies too! I haven’t opened the can – but I know they’re nuts – no one gets any of them – they’re all mine, mine, mine ha ha ha ha (Guess I’ve been in the ETO too long.) My love to you, the kids, and the folks. Merry Christmas!! Love.
Task Force Fickett established contact with the 80th Infantry Division (XII Corps) and cleared Lauterbach (Q26), six miles northeast of St. Avold (Q25). Elsewhere in the XX Corps zone, the 10th Infantry (5th Infantry Division) straightened its front, capturing Cheutzwald (Q26), and crossing the German Border, while other elements of the 5th Infantry Division occupied Wilhelmsbrosn (Q26). A good part of Saarlautern (Q26) was held by the 95th Infantry Division which had elements clearing WallErfangen (Q28), northeast of the city, Saarlouis (Q27) and Lisdorf (Q27). The 90th Infantry Division continued to clear the west bank of the Saar River in its zone. There was no change in the disposition of the 10th Armored Division.
The Q.M. sales store was around today, but as usual when you really need something – you can’t get it. I need some shorts – size 34, do you think you could find some around town and mail them to me? Six pair of these should hold me for a long while. The three suits I have really get a workout – one on, one drying, one spare.
Cap. Coyne found a Sten gun – one used by the British Commandos. I spent the afternoon cleaning it – went out and fired it on our range – it shoots German Ammo – so we never have any shortage. We’ve been shooting German Ammo for some time now.
Perhaps I mentioned it a while ago, but “B” Battery is off on a special mission very secret and quite a new job for them. We’re used to funny jobs ‘cause that’s all we’ve done since coming here. Our history will be the most unusual ever published (if ever.) Perhaps someday soon I can give you some of the details.
Our mission is the same as last week and will remain as such till our little forts give up. We flew a little while today, but the rain and low hanging clouds forced us to stay home the rest of the day.
Wrote to Peg last night – thanking her for her Christmas box. Please send me the addresses of other people who have boxes on the way. The cigarettes were a real gift. Please don’t send me anymore ‘cause I don’t want you three to be without. I can bum a smoke from a dozen or more people – besides I have almost two cartons on hand now.
Took some pictures a couple of days ago – will send you a set of prints when they get here. Jane will get some at the same time – so you needn’t sent her any.
There was no mail for the Battalion today – so we all went without. I’m trying to find some stuff for Curtis & Jimmy, helmets, belts, bayonets etc. and will sent it on when I get a chance. It will be late, but perhaps it can be considered as a Christmas present. More in a few days –
Love to all,
An Operational Directive instructed III Corps (87th Infantry Division) to relieve the 5th Infantry Division of XX Corps in the Metz (U85) area Mutual arrangement between III and XX Corps was to determine the time of relief. III Corps was directed to contain the forts still resisting by exerting maximum pressure without assaulting directly any major fortifications, to assume command of additional troops to be assigned, and to advance on Army order. XX Corps was to withdraw elements of the 5th Infantry Division successively from the Metz (U85) area upon relief by elements of the 87th Infantry Division and continue the offensive as instructed in the Operational Directive of 3rd November, as amended.
Advances of two to four miles were made by the 5th Infantry Division in the XX Corps zone, and elements drove into the vicinity of Differten (Q37) at the northern tip of the Foret Der Karlsbrunn (Q26). Street fighting in Saarlautern (Q28) was continued by the 95th Infantry Division, while elements of the division secured a bridgehead at Lisdorfer (Q28) and enlarged the bridgehead at Saarlautern (Q28) across the Saar River. A chemical smoke operation aided the crossing. To the north the 90th Infantry Division and the 10th Armored Division continued regroupmeant and preparation for renewal of their attack.
On the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of December, Company B, with two sections of smoke generators made diversionary demonstrations of river crossing along the Saar River. The smoke was laid over the river at three places. Air compressors were operated in defilade positions to simulate the sound of bridge construction and columns of light tanks were run up and down the road near the river at night to stimulate movement of troops and equipment. In one phase of this demonstration the smoke generators were unable to provide sufficient smoke to give the desired results. The town of Schwemlinge (wQ1797) was situated on the riverbank at this point. Lt. Bidigare in charge of the demonstration, set fire to this town. The smoke and flames created by the burning town completely hid the river and the activity of the American troops on the near bank. This demonstration succeeded in causing the Germans to move both troops and equipment from the area in the South where the 90th and 95th Infantry Divisions forced river crossings.
Operational Directive, Commanding General, III Corps, APO 303, U S Army and Commanding General, XX Corps, APO 340, U S Army: c. 244th FA. Bn (-B Btry) and B Btry, 558th FA Bn are detached from XX Corps and attached to III Corps.
No change in location. Battalion fire 683 rounds ammo. Many planes overhead from 2015 to 2115 – no bombing. Battalion relieved of attachment to XX corps and attached to III corps (less Battery “B”).
Caption Reads – “December 1944 Metz France – 244th F.A. Battery “A” Firing German 105mm How On Forts Surrounding City.”
The 105mm gun was placed about here at the Adolf Hitler Caserne, now the Caserne Reymond.
Got another package today. It was mailed from Fiels’s on Oct. 4. The Rum Cake and pecans are simply too good to describe. If I can get someone going – I’ll play gin rummy too. Christmas is looking up.
John is going to Fontainebleau tomorrow – I gave him all my dough to see if he can find something for you and Jane. He knows several shops there and has a knack of finding nice things. Hope he makes out well. I’ll let you know soon ‘cause he’ll be back in a few days.
You can add Orleans, Bar le Duc, Verdun, Fresnes en Woevre, Confleur, Reims, Soissons, Revigny, Nancy, Pont a Mousson and – to my list of travels. The Cathedral at Reims is beyond words – it shows the scars from the last war and, of course, some from this. Soissons is a nice city – quite pretty. While at Reims (a stopover for lunch), we saw a bunch of Wacs – and GI’s all spiffed up – shoes shined, blouses, garrison caps – just like the States!! Tried to get a case of Champagne at Piper- Heidsieck & Mums’, but the “Comm. Zone Commandos” had it all I guess ‘cause we had no luck at all.
The PX was here – I got another pair of sox – my feet have been quite cold. Several men have the Trench foot. Circulation cut off by tight shoes, cold weather and dampness are the chief causes. A great many hospital cases are the results – 3/10 – I’ve heard.
Didn’t do a thing today. Rain and low ceiling. Ah! Me – the Jr. Air Corps has a soft life. Perhaps tomorrow we’ll go at it again.
A Jerry plane has been flying around over the city for an hour or so – dropped a couple of bombs near the doughs. All is quiet here in the 244. Our mixed up guns have been blazing away ever since we got here. We have lots of ammo – mainly ‘cause Jerry pulled out in such a hurry. He left a lot of guns and ammo for us.
Will close now – more lateron Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Love to all
Combat Command “B” (4th Armored Division) crossed the Eichel River at Vollerdingen (Q54), while Combat Command “A’ crossed one mile to the south at Domfessel (Q53), and then made a rapid seven-mile advance to the northeast with leading elements at Bining (Q64), Schmittville (Q54) and Kalhausen (Q54). The enemy offered armored resistance in force against this advance in XII Corps zone. In a three-mile advance the 101st and 104th Infantry Regiments (26th Infantry Division) captured Oermingen (Q54), four miles north of Sarr-Union (Q53), while the 328th Infantry advanced in the vicinity of Sarralbe (Q27). Meanwhile in the 35th Infantry Division the 320th Infantry captured Willerwald (Q44), five and one-half miles southwest or Sarreguemines (Q55), and the 134th Infantry captured Hambach (Q45) , three miles southwest of Sarreguemines (Q55). The 6th Armored Division captured Rouhling (Q46) and Ippling (France) (Q45), west or Sarreguemines (Q55), while the 80th Infantry Division on the north took some high ground and improved its positions.
The 5th Infantry Division made advances from two to five miles in XX Corps zone, captured Karlsbrunn (Q36) and Merlebach (Q36), southwest of Saarbrucken Q57), while a few elements of the division continued to contain the forts still holding out in the Metz (U85) area. Fighting in the eastern part of Saarlautern (Q28) was continued by elements of the 95th Infantry Division, while other elements enlarged the bridgehead at Lisdorf (Q26). Assault crossings of the Saar River were made in four places by the 90th Infantry Division between two and five miles north of Saarlautern (Q28), while Pachten (Q28) was captured. To preserve surprise no artillery preparation was fired, but an intensive schedule of counter battery fire was launched from H-Hour to H – 45 consisting of approximately 8,000 rounds on thirty-nine enemy artillery locations. The 10th Armored Division continued aggressive patrolling on the corps north flank, but its front lines were unchanged.
On 5 December, III Corp received its first combat mission directive from Third Army. The mission was, “(1) to relieve XX Corps of responsibility in the Metz France area; (2) to relieve the 5th Division with elements of the 87th Infantry Division and contain the remaining Metz forts without directly assaulting any major fortification; and (3) to be prepared to receive additional troops and advance on Army order.”
The forts at Metz had been by-passed by the Third Army drive through France and were being secured by the 5th Division. The relief of the 5th Division by the 87th Division was not completed until 18 December. Elements of the 87th Infantry Division arrived, relieved the 5th Division and control of the area passed to III Corps.33
Control of the III Corps artillery did not pass to the III Corps at this time. Instead, the 244th Field Artillery Battalion, using captured German weapons, was assigned to conduct a program of harassing fire. (The men of the 244th Battalion had not received their howitzers yet.)
Baker Battery firing a German 8.8 cm Pak 43/41 from in front of the garages shown in the photo above. The roof of that garage is in the background.
The 8,8 cm (88mm) Pak 43/41 was designed as an anti-tank gun (Panzer-Abwehr-Kanone) for direct fire on tanks but could also be used as an artillery gun for indirect fire. This gun in the photo is the Pak 43 because it is mounted on a cruciform mount. with the carriage wheels removed. Because this Pak 43 had a high silhouette, the Germans nicknamed it “Scheunentor” (barn door).
The Pak 41 used split-trails instead of a cruciform mount. Both guns used the same ammunition and the Pak 43/41 was the main weapon of the Tiger II, Jagdpanther.
That same firing position today.
One of our batteries, B Battery, had been detached from the battalion to learn how to operate alligators. For a week they practiced on the Moselle River, and then went into action carrying supplies across the Saar River near Saarlautern. Alligators were the amphibious trucks that would take supplies across the river. The bridge heads were small, and each crossing meant ducking artillery and small arms fire. They accomplished that mission without losing a man.
About that time, the Germans launched the great Ardennes offensive, and the Third Army was ordered from its position in the Saar Basin to turn around and proceed to Luxembourg to contain the southern half of the Bulge
III Corps moved from its concentration area at Etain (U47) to Metz (U85) and opened its new Command Post.
The 4th Armored Division (XII Corps) consolidated its gains and Combat Command “B” advanced two miles to occupy Singling (Q65), eight miles southeast of Sarreguemines (Q55) while Combat Command “A” made small advances in the vicinity of Bining (Q64). Meanwhile, in an advance to the northeast the 104th Infantry (26th Infantry Division) reached the outskirts of Etting (Q64), seven miles southeast of Sarreguemines (Q55), while the 328th Infantry cleared Sarralbe (Q27) and the 101st Infantry reached Kulhausne (Q54). Advancing two miles, the 6th Armored Division took Nelferding (Q55), while other elements were in the vicinity of Lixing (Q46). The 80th Infantry Division maintained its front line sent out aggressive patrols, while the 2nd Calvary Group assumed the north flank protection and pushed patrols to Forbach (Q36) Getting (Q46) and Emmersweller (Q36).
Battalion less “B” Battery relieved from attachment to 5th Infantry Division and attached to 87th Infantry Division. Fort St. Quentin surrendered at 1300 – 22 officers and 571 enlisted men taken prisoner. Premature burst in one of “C” Battery’s guns – no casualties. Battalion experimenting with anti-flash powder – excellent results. 329 rounds ammo fired on harassing missions on forts still resisting.
The Battalion was relieved of attachment to the 5th Infantry Division and attached to the 87th Infantry Division with no change in location or mission.
Metz, France vU8456
Boggs, Charles R. 34 359 672 Pfc. Code 1-7
Rd to gr of Pvt. per SO #24 this Btry
17 Nov 44
Staggs, Joe L. 39 695 499 Pvt. Code 1-7
To Pfc. per SO #24 this Btry 17 Nov 44
Murphy, Edmund C. (FA) 0 278 607 Capt. Code T
Sk to lost to 103rd Evac Hosp “Non Battle
loss” “Dy 1193-7”
Savage, William U. (FA) 01 168 453 1st Lt.
Assumes Command in addition to other
Metz, France vU8456
Burnette, Joseph M. 33 224 012 Pvt. Code K
Teems, Ardrel F. 34 248 818 Pvt. Code K
Above 2 EM conf 203rd MP Det to trfd to &
conf The Rhine Section Disciplinary
Training Center. Convicted by GCM of
violation of AW 93 & 96 & sentenced to be
D/D (Suspended) to forfeit all pay and alws
due or to become due & to be conf at
hard labor for three years per GCMO #11
& 10, respectively, Hq SP Trs 12th A GP
dtd 4 Dec 44.
Johnson, Marion Q. 35 625 728 Pvt.
Conf 203rd MP Det to dy. Convicted by
GMC of violation of AW 96 & sentenced to
be conf at hard labor for six nonths
(Suspended) and to forfit $40.00 of his
pay per mo for six months per GCMO #13
Hq SP Trs 12th A Gp dtd 4 Dec 44
Rose, Marion W. 20 367 383 Pvt.
Conf 203rd MP Det to dy. Convicted by
GMC of violation of AW 96 & sentenced to
Be conf at hard labor for nine months.
(Suspended) and to forfit &40.00 of his
pay per mo for nine months per GCMO #12
Hq, Hq Trs 12th A Gp dtd 4 Dec 44
I really had an extra special day today. I had a Brig general fly me around for a couple of hours today which registering a new Bn. on a Fort Base point. Early this morning we had a call to do the job, but first we had to show the two Gen’s the situation. Gen _____ & Gen _____ with Gen#1 flying Garland’s ship. Billy & I were leading them around showing them the targets and points of resistance. It was fun – like a cook’s tour – with radio we’d explain the situation as we knew it to be on the ground. After the tour – Gen. # 2 went to his gun position to pull the string on the first gun of his outfit to fire at the Jerry. Gen. #1 and I took off and cruised around for ½ hour before the shooting started. We were about 500 yds. from a Casement of Ft. _____ and 50 yds. off the ground when wham!! a tracer zipped under us – I yelled in the inter-phone to “get out of here – they’re shooting at us!!” Boy did he move. We went down like an express elevator into a deep wide ravine – we came out about a mile away. He was scared and so was I. But he wouldn’t quit nor did he get very close to the fort again. We flew around in fog – and rain during the registration – it was hard ‘cause of the visibility also I couldn’t get him high enough or close enough to see real well. After two hours & ½ we quit. He was dead tired and so was I. After landing we all joked about the tracers – he said he enjoyed the flying – (his first combat) and said I did a nice job. It was novel day in all respects – don’t you think? After he left Bill & I went up and finished the job by 1330. I had lunch at 1400 and was in bed at 1500. I slept for a couple of hours and then had coffee for supper. Was more sleepy then hungry if you can imagine that. December 8, 1944
Add Chalons sur Marne, Sens, Montargis, Froges, St. Dizier to my list of travels. All of these towns I’ve mentioned are those I’ve driven thru. I’ve flown over lots more, but are too small to show on any large scale maps. I have a Standard oil map of France upon which I’ve recorded in ink all the towns I’ve ever been in and some of the areas we’ve worked over by air.
The Battalion didn’t get much mail today – needless to say – I didn’t get a thing. I expect packages each day – but not much luck. Peg’s box is finished and your Rum cake and nuts are fine also. You can see we don’t let those kinds of goodies hang around long.
The Air section has come to the conclusion that the German Army has a poor bunch of marksmen. You would think they could at least nick a Cub – so close – and flying so slowly. Anyway – we didn’t give them any special chances to tag us. You can be sure they hate us ‘cause when a cub is up they can expect to be plastered down if they so much as move out of their holes. Will sign off and will write again real soon.
Love to all – your
On the XII Corps north flank patrols of the 2nd Cavalry Group entered Forbach (Q46), four miles southeast of Saarbrucken (Q57). Fort Plappeville (Q86), west of Metz (U85), surrendered to the 5th Infantry Division (XX Corps) while other elements of the 5th Infantry Division made advances of one to two miles to the Saar River, clearing the four small towns, Wedgassen (Q37), Hostenbach (Q37), Wehrden (Q37) and Furstenhausen (Q37), north and south of Wolflingen (Q37), and drove to a point four and one-half miles west of Saarbrucken (Q57). Small advances were made by the 379th Infantry (95th Infantry Division), while other elements of the division met heavy resistance in limited attacks within Saarlautern (Q28) and 378th Infantry continued the attack at Ensdorf (Q37), one mile to the south. In the 90th Infantry Division zone the 357th Infantry continued its attack to the northeast in the forest one and one-half miles north of Dillingen (Q28), while the 358th Infantry reported a heavy counterattack on bridgehead at Pachten (Q28). Holding its zone west of the river, the 359th Infantry enlarged its bridgehead. There was no change in the 10th Armored Division or in Task Force Polk, which maintained patrols on the north flank.
Ft. Plappeville surrendered at 1500 – 11 officers and 208 enlisted men taken prisoner. Forts Jeanne d’Arc and Driant only resisting forts – 624 rounds fired on these two forts. Lt. Garland received Award of Air Medal for participating in aerial Flight against Enemy. GO #105 Hq TUSA dtd 7th December 1944.
On 8th December, at 1600 III Corps became operational as planned when the 345th Infantry, 87th Division, completed relief of the 5th Division in containing Fort Jeanne d’Arc, the only fort which had not by this time capitulated. At that time Corps assumed full responsibility in the Metz area, and in addition to the already attached units received the 244th Field Artillery Battalion (minus Battery B) which was equipped with captured enemy weapons.
During the entire period 8 December – 14 December, in compliance with Third Army’s instructions, no effort was made to directly assault Fort Jeanne d’Arc. Psychological warfare (leaflets fired by artillery, loudspeakers) was utilized in an effort to induce the occupants of the fort to surrender, and continuous harassing artillery fire was placed on the fort throughout the entire period. No surrender was expected, however, until food or ammunition was exhausted. In addition to holding the fort, the enemy was considered capable of employing small patrols to obtain rations and of sending out patrols to infiltrate to the German lines, by now far to the East.
On the south flank of XII corps, elements of the 4th Armored Division continued to be relieved by the 12th Armored Division (XV Corps, Seventy U.S. Army) following a readjustment in the inter-Army Group boundary. The 26th Infantry Division attacked to the northeast after a heavy air bombardment had helped to soften enemy resistance on its front, captured Achen (Q54), six and one-half miles southeast of Sarreguemines (Q55), and entered Wiesviller (Q55). Meanwhile, the 35th Infantry resumed its attack aided by tank destroyers and made four crossings of the Saar River, one at Sarreguemines (Q55) and three to the southeast at Remelfing (Q55), Zetting (Q55) and Dieding (Q55). Advances the Dieding (Q55) bridgehead was temporarily held up to allow supporting elements to cross the river. Sarreinsning (Q55) was cleared while patrols entered NeunD’A (Q55). On the corps north flank the 6th Armored Division continued its patrols, with no changes on the front lines.
Elements of the 5th Infantry Division on the front line were being relieved by elements of Task Force Fickett, while to the rear, Fort Driant (U75), west of Metz (U85), surrendered to other elements of the 5th Infantry Division early in the period. At this time only one Metz fort, Fort Jeanne d’Arc (U75), still resisted. Fighting inside Saarlautern (Q28) was continued by the 95th Infantry Division, with progress being reported by all infantry elements of the division which had completed crossings of the Saar River. Elements of the 359th Infantry (90th Infantry Division) started crossing the Saar River at Dillingen (Q28) following repulse of a counterattack.
Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.
Captain Reads – December 1944 Metz France – T4 Boyd, S/Sgt Harvel, T/5 Moody, “A” Battery
I have received two boxes from home since my last letters telling you about Peg’s Bx. To date these boxes have come: T.BM. NUTS; TBM. HANKIES & T.P; T.B.M GLOVES; P.E.G SOX, CANDY – NUTS; AUNT RUTH, COOKIES, GAMES, MAGS, UNK ART, FOOD. You can see I’ve been well taken care of. Each day should bring in a box or two.
I had an unusual thing happen yesterday – I had a chance to tell over “Combat Diary” my impressions of the action around ____ as I’d seen it from the Arty. Air point of view. It was made to be broadcast on C.D. for Dec 7. I don’t know whether it will be ever used, but anyway – the chance was mine.
December 8, 1944
I found a vase (an urn) yesterday and will send it home for your inspection. I don’t know if it’s any good or not – it looks like the same type of workmanship that some of your china or porcelain (?) in the living room is. Do whatever you like with it.
We had a GI show here last night and it was swell. Everyone just ate it up. Guess because it was kind of dirty in spots.
This evening we had a movie and that too drew a big crowd. A U.S.O. show is coming here in a couple of weeks – hope we’re around to see it.
Too tired to go on.
Street fighting continued in Sarreguemines (Q55) in the XII Corps zone. Enemy troops in fortified houses and pillboxes continued the advance of the 95th Infantry Division in the Saarlautern (28) bridgeheads while farther north in the XX corps zone the 90th Infantry Division met stiff resistance.
The 87th Infantry Division (III Corps) contained Fort Jeanne d’Arc (U75) the last resisting Metz (U85) fort.
The 6th Cavalry Group (XX Corps) maintained position on the south flank following its relief of the 5th Infantry Division which had retired to an assembly area north of St. Avold (Q25). In the 95th Infantry Division bridgehead around Saarlautern (Q25), the advance continued, while father north the 90th Infantry Division advanced against heavily fortified positions, with the 359th Infantry crossing the Saar River. There was no change in disposition of 10th Armored Division on the corps north flank.
A demonstration was conducted to acquaint the XII Corps artillery with the use and characteristics of the new Pozit fuse, with extraordinary results being obtained. A smaller demonstration was conducted for XX Corps artillery the following day. The fuze, which exploded automatically by magnetic attraction approximately thirty feet from the ground or from metal objects, was employed by antiaircraft artillery as well as by field artillery.
Continuing his strong delaying actions in the XII Corps zone, the enemy launched numerous small counterattacks. Heavy artillery tire was used against the Saarlautern (Q28) bridgehead in XX Corps zone. There was an increase in enemy activity in III Corps zone as considerable mortar fire was laid down from Fort Jeanne d’Arc (U75) at Metz (085). III Corps remained at Metz (U85), with the 345th Infantry (87th Infantry Division) continuing to contain Fort Jeanne d’Arc (U75). The 101st Infantry (26th Infantry Division) closed in the Metz (085) area.
Fighting continued in Saarlautern (Q28) to enlarge the bridgehead of the 95th Infantry Division, with small advances made against pillboxes and fortified houses. The 90th Infantry Division continued to attack to the northeast in the XX Corps zone and small advances were made north of Dillingen (Q28). Several enemy counterattacks were repulsed with no ground lost. Task Force Polk on the corps north flank maintained its front-line patrols with no change, while 6th Cavalry Group (reinforced) continued active patrolling in its zone. The 5th Infantry Division and the 10th Armored Division remained in their respective areas.
I mailed you two boxes – one today one yesterday. One had an antique ink stand in it the other the vase I spoke about a few days ago. The vase is insured for $25.00 the ink stand I forgot to insure. John got the ink stand in Fontainebleau. I don’t know if I like it or not. It’s yours!! Display it or hide it. The vase is really nice. Real gold on the stem we think!! We are all well here no mail or packages for two days. It’s been rather cold here – we’ve done a little flying off and on. Our work here – might wind up here any day now. I’ll keep you advised. Have written to uncle Art & Aunt Ruth and Peg thanking them for remembering me on Christmas. Love to all
XII Corps (the 35th, 80th, and 87th Infantry Division, the 4th and 6th Armored Division and supporting troops) were directed to pass control of the 6th Armored Division to the III Corps at once and to continue its current mission. XX Corps (the 5th, 90th and 95th Infantry Division, the 10th Armored Division and supporting troops) were to pass control of the 6th Cavalry group to the III Corps at once and to continue its current mission.
Fort Jeanne D’Arc (U75) was being contained in III Corps zone. Effective this date the 6th Cavalry Group, reinforced) was attached for operational control only, although neither unit was immediately committed to action by III Corps.
The 95th Infantry Division continued house-to-house fighting in the Saarlautern (Q28) bridgehead, in the XX Corps zone, with about one-third of the suburb of Fraulautern (Q38) being cleared. Heavy fighting also continued at Ensdorf (Q37). Efforts to enlarge the 90th Infantry Division bridgehead continued with slight advances being made against harassing enemy artillery fire. There was no change in the 10th Armored Division, Task Force Polk, or the 5th Infantry Division.
Battery “B” moved to Duren (wQ220789) from which one platoon was attached to the 90th Infantry Division and the remainder of the Battery to the 95th Infantry Division. The Battery remained in these positions, operating the LVT’s across the Saar River until it was relieved of this Mission on 19 December 1944. It rejoined the Battalion on 23 December 1944, the interim being spent in turning in the LVT’s and reorganization and rehabilitation of the Battery at Metz.
The River crossing operation of the XX Corps at Saarlautern was seriously impeded by heavy German resistance. A series of pillboxes lined the German side of the river in the flat. Our infantry reduced these pillboxes in the initial crossing and established a bridgehead. German infantry infiltrate through our lines and reoccupied the pillboxes, delivering effective AW and SA fire on our troops attempting to cross the river with supplies an reinforcements. The main stone bridge at Saarlautern had been capture intact but was very heavily shelled constantly by German artillery – in fact, the entire American Bridgehead area receive heavy shelling.
It was the mission of Battery “B”s LVT crews to operate these vehicles across the Saar in ferrying supplies, food, ammunition and reinforcements. All crossings had to be made at night because of enemy artillery fire. In all, only four successful crossings were made. Six LVT’s were knocked out by enemy shelling. Miraculously, the Battery sustained no casualties to personnel despite the extremely perilous conditions under which it worked for three weeks.
In November, B Battery was again sent on detach service, in Saarlouis and we had picked up 13 alligators, our amphibious tank, and we assigned three men to each tank. So there was about 30, 40 men — 39 to 40 men along with the officers there and we — we took a crash course on operating these tanks in the Moselle River, and finally, we went down, went back to our villa area in Saarlouis, and these tanks were loaded with supplies for two infantry outfits that were across the Saar River that had been running very low on all their supplies. And of course, the Germans had this place zeroed in with artillery and mortar fire, and they did a great job about spoiling that — spoiling their supplies from coming across, and there were some submerged foot bridges that the infantry could use at nighttime, and they did have a couple of boats up the river a ways. I think they were probably camouflaged on the bank there for different moves at night time, and these were loaded and ready to cross the river, and we got down to the river bank during dark, and we started across the river just before dawn. And of course, I had my regular driver, Damos Rowe, and one of my cannoneers, Harold Gattshall, and we entered the river and the water came up over the top of the windshield, and I was wondering if the thing was going to float. It did. But we got to the other bank and something happened. The gator stopped and the motor backfired and quit. We tried to start it and move it again, but it was no luck. There was an infantry guide there waiting for us and he said get the H out of here. He said the Germans realized there’s a lot of activity here and they’re going to give you a real reception, and they did. But he says follow me and keep low and move fast, and I think it was about 500 yards off the bank there was a row of houses up there and we got there in a hurry, and he said duck under the doorway, stay sheltered here for a while, and we did go through the door, and it was — it was a cement bomb shelter, and we found out later that a lot of the houses in this area did have these bomb shelters, and I thank God for that. But as we ducked in, the — there was an alligator crew already there ahead of us. Of course, they were soaking wet and cold, and our guy was looking out the doorway to see where our gator was and kind of take a survey of the land around us, and I smelled smoke. I turned around and one of the other crew had started a fire in a little stove, and I yelled for him “put that damn fire out,” and it was too late. The Germans had spotted the smoke and they rained mortar shells down on us like rain for quite a while, and — but there was also a nine millimeter shell that hit right up over the doorway of where we were, and this was from the other side of the river, and these were from our own guns. I suppose they figured that the — there was — the collaborators had marked this target, and I’m kind of glad that they realized that it was us that was there, and they only fired one round. Well, this is something I hesitated to talk about. It’s a little embarrassing, but we had been in the shelter for a while and mother nature was calling me and I held it as long as I could, and I had looked out the doorway and there was a shed not far from where we were, maybe a couple — maybe 20 yards or so, and I said I think I can make that, and I went out there and to relieve myself and a shell — a mortar shell came close to the area, and I said I better get out of here and I ran back into the bomb shelter, and I said, boy, that one seemed kind of close. And one of the fellows — I think it was my private says, “hey, Bishop, look outside,” and I looked at the shack and there wasn’t much left of it. They had dropped a mortar shell on it, and I thank God that I wasn’t there. Well, just before dark a sergeant came down and says we’re going to try to get you back across the river and along with some of the other infantry boys and some boats that we got up there, and he says when it gets dark enough, he says, we’ll go up the — these row of buildings and move fast and stay low, and we did. And I could hear rifle shots off in the distance, and I didn’t pay much attention. I thought they were quite away away, but then I noticed the shells bouncing off the cobblestone. I said, “hey, they’re shooting at us,” and the sergeant made a quick right turn down to the river, and we jumped into the boats, and he says push off and paddle like a son of a gun until you get to the other side. And when I got to the other side, I said they must have a rope attached to these so that they can pull them back. And well, anyway, the — the Germans were dropping a lot of shells, mortar and the artillery, along the river that night, and we — I guess they did that every night, and we found out later that one of the other boats had had some — some of the infantry boys in for — going across the river for — to be taken for a break, had a direct hit, and none of them survived. We felt pretty bad about that, and we got across there and climbed aboard the bank and across the road and into the — where there was a bunch of buildings, and we found a cellar hole, and we stayed there until — hunkered down there until morning, and finally, our weapons carrier showed up and we were taken back to our village in Saarlouis, and we were all dead tired and I went up on the second floor of the building we were in and took my shoes off and fell sound asleep. It wasn’t long that I heard a big blast and the glass was falling and the doors were swinging open, and I ran — I grabbed my shoes and ran downstairs, and I saw two six-by-six trucks burning there, and a soldier from another outfit was there and he said, hey, one of our own planes dropped a bomb on us, and he said that we got some casualties and more friendly fire. Well, that night we went back with Captain Torres. He said he wanted to see if we could get our alligator up to the rural houses where the infantry could unload their supplies, and we got down to the river. Of course, I was the driver then, and he says, Bishop, you stay here with the jeep, and Damos and I will get out there to see if we can get across the river to the tank and get it moved up. And it seemed like quite a while they did return and the Captain said the alligator had drifted into one of the submerged bridges and the cables were wound up into the track and there was no way that this thing would ever move. I was very thankful to get back to the — our village, and well, the surprising thing about this was — it’s amazing — is out of the 13 tanks only three were able to make it back across the river, and despite all the heavy fire, not one casualty. Thank God again. Well, this was mentioned in our battalion history that we had.
Note – The mission on 19th December undertaken by “B” Battery would have looked much like the one in this photo.
Battery “B” was located at Sierck-les-Bains (vU9895), attached to the 55th Combat Engineer Battalion. For a week they practiced on the Moselle River with the mission to learn to operate LVT M2 and M4 “Alligators.”
Battery “B” moved to Duren (wQ220789) from which one platoon was attached to the 90th Infantry Division and the remainder of the Battery to the 95th Infantry Division. The Battery remained in these positions, operating the LVT’s across the Saar River. Their mission was to ferry supplies, food, ammunition, and reinforcements across the Saar River.
As a result of the meeting with General Spaatz, General Doolittle, General Vanderberg, General Wayland and myself, a definite scheme for the rupture of the Siegfried Line in the vicinity of Zweibrucken-Kaiser-Lautern by a three day air blitz followed immediately by a ground assault had been arranged, with target date the 19th of December.
In XII Corps, the 87th Division had relieved 26th Division east of Saareguemines, and the latter had assembled at Metz and taken over the training of 4,000 replacements secured through a 5% cut in the overhead of all Corps and Army troops in the 3rd Army.
The 6th and 80th Divisions were up to strength, but the Army as a whole was 12,000 short. All divisions were ordered to cannibalize headquarters and anti-tank gun sections to provide infantry riflemen.
With the surrender at 121125 of Fort Jeanne d’Arc (U75), the last remaining strong-point of the hitherto impregnable Metz (85) fort fell to Third U.S. Army. The garrison surrendered to the 101st Infantry (26th Infantry Division), following its relief of the 345th Infantry 87th infantry Division), Effective on this date, the 26th Infantry Division was assigned to III Corps.
The 26th Infantry Division, reinforced largely with troops from third U.A. Army Headquarters and corps and division headquarters who had been given a refresher course in infantry training, had two regiments, the 101st and 104th Infantry, in the vicinity of Metz (U85), while the 328th Infantry made advances of one mile and captured the high ground southeast of Obergailbach (Q65). Attached to the 26th Infantry Division, the 346th Infantry (87th Infantry Division made advance of one and one-half miles to the northeast to Rimling (Q26) against light resistance. The 347th Infantry (87th Infantry Division) closed into an assembly area near Kulhausen (Q54), south of Sarreguemines (Q55), while the 345th Infantry began moving from Metz (U85) to rejoin the remainder of the division. Elsewhere in XII Corps Zone, heavy concentrations of artillery and small arms fire were directed at 35th Infantry Division zone by the division advanced slowly, the 134th Infantry taking Nabkirchen (Q56) and crossing the Blies River in assault boats while the 137th Infantry continued to mop up in Sarreguemines (Q55). There was no change in the zone of the 4th and 6th Armored Division and the 80th Infantry Division.
House-to-house fighting in Saarlautern-Roden (Q28) and Fraulautern (Q38) was continued by the 95th Infantry Division in the XX Corps zone, while its 37th Infantry continued to enlarge the Ensdorf (Q37) bridgehead south of Saarlautern (Q28). Farther north, the 90th Infantry Division fought hard to enlarge its bridgehead, brought supplies and supporting weapons across the Saar River under cover of smoke, and beat off savage counterattacks. Front lines of the 90th Infantry Divisions were unchanged at the end of the period. There was no change in the disposal of the 5th Infantry Division, the 10th Armored Division or Task Force Polk, the latter being on the north flank performing patrol duties.
III Corps took 514 prisoners of war from Fort Jeanne d’Arc (U75), last of the Metz (U85) forts. More elements of the 26th Infantry Division closed at Metz (U85) in the III Corps zone. A determined enemy defense slowed down the advance in the XII Corps zone, while the enemy continued his strong defense in the Saar River bridgehead in the XX Corps zone.
Advances in zone on the south flank of XII Corps, to the vicinity of Obergailbach (Q65) were made by the 346th infantry (26th Infantry Division) assembling in an area near Achen (Q54) preparatory to rejoining the rest of the division at Metz (U85). Farther north, advances to the north of Neunkirch (Q55) and Frauenberg (Q55), three miles northeast of Sarreguemines (Q55) were made by the 137th Infantry (35th Infantry Division). On the north of the 35th Infantry Division zone the 320th Infantry made another crossing of the Blise River near Bliesbruck (Q55) four miles east of Sarreguemines (Q55), the crossing being made under heavy artillery fire, while supporting weapons were ferried across the river in the rear of the advancing troops. During the period the 4th an Armored Division and the 80th Infantry Division remained unchanged.
The 95th Infantry Division made small gains to the north and east with its 377th and 379th Infantry Regiments. House-to-house fighting continued in Saarlautern-Roden (Q28) and Ensdorf (Q37). Meanwhile, elements of the 90th Infantry Division, advancing against stiff resistance, and clearing numerous pillboxes, reinforced their XX Corps bridgehead areas. Tank destroyers were carried across the river on pontoon ferries under fire, believed to be the first time that this feat had been accomplished. The 5th Infantry Division, 10th Armored Division, and Task Force Polk on the Army north flank were unchanged during the period.
At 0900 on 13th December, Major Hans Voss, Commanding Officer of the German forces in Fort Jeanne d’Arc, asked for a truce, and at 1115 surrender unconditionally the fortress and 511 officers and enlisted men to Colonel Walter T. Scott, commander of the 101st Infantry, 26th Division.
Battalion situation – no change. Battalion Exec went to “B” Battery at 0630 to inspect area and men.
Metz, France vU8456
Daylor, Bernnard T. (FA) 01 178 948 1st Lt. Code 9
From principal dy Motor O (0600)
to principal dy Exec O (1193)
Shinaberry, Jacob W. (FA) 01 172 654 2nd Lt. Code 9
From principal dy Exec O (1193)
to principal dy BO (1183)
RECORDS OF EVENTS
Reld from atachd XX Corps & atchd III Corps
7 Dec 44. Reld from further attachment
to 87th Inf Div & further attached to 26th
Inf Div 11 Dec 44.
“Continued normal fire missions with Cap-
tured enemy weapons on remaining enemy
Fots in & about Metz.
Strength: 122 EM, 3 Officers
Metz, France vU8456
Reld from atchd XX Corps & atchd III
Corps 7 Dec 44. Reld from further
attachment to 87th Inf Div & further
atchd to 26th Inf Div 11 Dec 44.
“Continued normal fire missions with
captured enemy weapons on remaining
forts in and about Metz.”
III Corps took over control of part of the Army zone between XII and XX Corps, and assumed control of the 26th Infantry Division, 6th Armored Division, Task Force Fickett, and the 42nd Infantry Division (upon arrival) which division was completely unloaded at Marseilles (T41). Front lines were unchanged during the period; however, aggressive patrols were continued by the 6th Armored Division and Task Force Fickett.
Readjustment between corps left the XII Corps with the 35th, 80th and 87th Infantry Divisions, and the 4th Armored Division. The 4th Armored Division continued its training and rehabilitation program. To the north, the 87th Infantry Division made a one mile advance with the 346th and 347th Infantry Regiments. The 346th Infantry reached the German border eight and one-half miles east of Sarreguemines (Q55), and took Rimling (Q65), while the 347th Infantry cleared Obergailbach (Q65), six miles east of Sarreguemines (Q55). The 35th Infantry Division continued its attack to the north. Its 137th Infantry beat off two counterattacks and advanced one-half mile into the woods north of Habkirchen (Q55), while the 134th Infantry gained one mile in the vicinity of Relcheim (Q56). On the right flank Nieder-Gailbach (Q65) was cleared by the 320th Infantry after a one-mile advance. There was no change in the 80th Infantry Division. A broadcast made to German units in Bliesbrucken (Q55) by the Psychological Warfare unit attached to Headquarters, XII Corps, was credited with bringing twenty-eight prisoners of war into the Army lines.
XX Corps had the 5th, 90th, 95th Infantry Divisions, the 10th Armored Division and Task Force Polk after the corps realignment. On the south of corps zone the 5th Infantry Division was unchanged. The attack inside Saarlautern-Roden (Q28) continued by the 379th Infantry (95th Infantry Division) with numerous fortified houses being reduced. A ferry across the Saar River moved up equipment to the 378th Infantry in the Ensdorf (Q37) bridgehead. Various elements of the 90th Infantry Division made local gains, with the 358th Infantry fighting in Dillingen (Q28) and the 359th Infantry making small gains north of the city, while ferrying of supplies and equipment across the Saar River continued. There was no change in the 10th Armored Division or in Task Force Polk on the Army north flank.
Work was begun to clear Fort Jeanne d’Arc (U75) at Metz (U85) of mines, booby traps and delayed action charges so that a communications system could be installed.
On the 14th of December our Long-Toms arrived, and the battalion lined up in front of the command post and presented arms. Three days later we were ln Seingbousse, firing our first rounds into Germany in the Forbach-Saar-Brucken sector. We made a quick shift from the XX Corps to the III Corps and then finally to the XII Corps where we remained till the end of the war.
BATTALION RECEIVED IT’S GUNS, 155 mm, M1A1, TODAY. BATTALION IN FORMATION; PRESENTED ARMS AS THEY ROLLED BY!
The 155 mm M1A1 “Long Toms” arrived towed by the M4 High Speed Tractor. The Battalion Presented Arms in front of the Command Post.
The Battalion received its primary weapons 155 mm Guns, M1A1.
The Battalion received 12 155mm Guns, M1A1 and spent the next three days, day and night removing preservative compound, cleaning and checking these weapons.
On December 14, 1944, our “Long Toms” arrived. I was sure glad to finally get my tractor and Long Tom gun. We had been in Europe since July 14, 1944, without our big weapons, firing whatever we could find. The blow fell on the Germans.
It’s been 4 days since my last letter and I’m sorry about it. Capt. Torres came to the Battalion and because it was quiet there Col. Davis wanted me go work with the Battery. The first night I got about 2 hours sleep – we were down in the area the shootin was being done. Boy – it was hot. Funny a shell would drop – and I’d hug the vehicle we were working on – it was loaded with T.N.T.!! The pieces of shell, after the burst, would drop like rain for 10 sec. or so. We slept most of the day. Have been kind of cold lately – but I keep my feet as warm and dry as I can. No trench foot for me if I can avoid it. Missed a few meals lately – perhaps I can lose a little weight. I mailed two boxes home, let me know when they come. I haven’t gotten any packages for five or six days. Maybe tonight – who can tell? My love to all –
SHOULDER SLEEVE INSIGNA
A blue caltrop, in the center a white triangle, all within a green border.
Blue and white are the colors of corps distinguishing flags, and the three points of
the caltrop indicate the numerical designation of the corps.
DISTINCTIVG UNIT INSIGNIA
A gold colored metal and enamel device, consisting of a yellow shield on which is a blue caltr with one point up; within the center or the caltrop a white equilateral triangle with
one point down.
Yellow alludes to armor. The caltrop is a representation of the shoulder sleeve insignia
of III Corp Blue and white are the colors used for corps.
Organized 16 May 1918 in the Regular Army in France as Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, III Army Corps. Demobilized 9 August 1919 at Camp Sherman, Ohio. Reconstituted 27 June 1944 in the Regular Army as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, III Corps; concurrently consolidated with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, III Corps (active) (sec ANNEX), and consolidated unit designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, III Corps. Inactivated 10 October 1946 at Camp Polk, Louisiana. Activated 15 March 1951 at Camp Roberts, California. Inactivated 5 May 1959 at Fort Hood, Texas. Activated 1 September 1961 at Fort Hood, Texas. Reorganized and redesignated 24 September 1965 as Headquarters, III Corps; Headquarters Company, Ill Corps, concurrently constituted and activated at Fort Hood, Texas.
Constituted 15 August 1927 in the Regular Army as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, XXII Corps. Redesignated 13 October 1927 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, III Corps. Activated 18 December.
ARMIES, CORPS, DIVISIONS, AND SEPARATE BRIGADES95
1940 at the Presidio of Monterey, California. Redesignated 1 January 1941 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, III Army Corps. Redesignated 19 August 1942 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, III Corps.
CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION CREDIT
World War I World War II
Aisnc-Mame Northern France
Champagne 1918 Central Europe
XII Corps continued to advance slowly against heavy resistance. Its 4th Armored Division continued screening the corps south flank while the 87th Infantry Division attacked north with the 345th Infantry approaching Erching (Q65), eight miles east of Sarreguemines (Q66) after advances of one and one-half miles. The 346th Infantry (87th Infantry Division) assembled in the vicinity of Rimling (Q65), while the 347th Infantry attacked to the north near Medelsheim (Q66). The 35th Infantry Division continued clearing Nieder-Gailbach (Q65) and also attacked to the north, but made only local gains around Habkirchen (Q56). Tank destroyers supporting the attacks reduced five strong-points. Elsewhere in the corps there was no change.
Local advances by the 95th Infantry Division in Saarlauiern-Roden (Q28) were made against heavy resistance, while the enemy continued his heavy artillery fire against the 90th and 95th Infantry Division in the XX Corps zone.
Overshoes remained in critical short supply, a total of 82,500 pairs in sizes ten and above being needed for initial issue. A telegram was sent to the Commanding General, Communications Zone, inviting attention to the priority for the issue of overshoes to reinforcement personnel. Escape hatches for medium tanks become critical at this time and contracts for their manufacture were placed with French firms.
On the 15th, however, Third Army’s operational directive of 11th December became effective, and directed that the Commanding General, III Corps, assumes command of the 6th Armored Division, the 42nd Infantry Division, upon its arrival at Metz, and temporary command of the 6th Cavalry Group (Reinforced). It further directed that III Corps, (1) continue its present missions in Metz; (2) maintain maximum pressure against the enemy in the assigned zone; (3) drive the enemy East of the Saar River within the Corps zone on completion of refitting the 26th Infantry Division and an Army order; (4) seize and secure a bridgehead across the Saar River in the Corps zone on Army order; and (5) advance Northeast and seize Neunkirchen on Army Order.
The 6th Armored Division and Task Force Fickett (6th Cavalry Group) were engaged in patrolling in their respective zones. Corps directed that they continue to patrol and exert maximum pressure against the enemy.
III Corps became operational 15th December.
Batteries busy cleaning guns and materiel. Colonial Davis to attend conference at 1930 at Century. Conference postponed. Major Clark returned to Battalion CP after inspecting “B” Battery at 1700.
The Battalion was relieved of attachment to XX Corps and attached to 183rd Field Artillery Group, III Corps.
The 244th was frequently assigned to artillery groups, which served as a coordinating echelon below the corps level for artillery support. Each artillery battalion was comprised of a headquarters battery for administration and management of the battalion, a service battery to oversee logistics matters, and three firing batteries, each with four guns to conduct firing missions. There was usually a fire direction center at the battalion level, and frequently other fire direction centers at the group or division artillery levels to coordinate artillery bombardments. The typical 155mm artillery battalion was comprised of about 550 to 600 men. They were self-contained with their own vehicles, tents and field kitchens, and an air observation airplane. Like all combat units in the war, artillery battalions were extremely fluid and moved frequently to keep pace with the racing infantry and armored divisions. They typically operated within a few miles of the front, and occasionally got ahead of the infantry and armored divisions in the confusion of combat.
December 15, 1944, with 4 American Divisions, including our Third Army, holding a 90-mile front. Many Americans, along with British troops fought in the Battle of the Bulge. It was eight days of hard fighting while being cold, wet, and hungry. We ate snow washed down with black coffee.
During these eight days, which seemed like forever, we had no food, no comforts, and were drenched to the bone. We had to chop thru ice to dig our foxholes. We found some old bombed barns in the area, with chickens, and a cow. My Lieutenant asked if I could “stick a cow.” I told him “no,” but I could cut its throat. The guys shot the cow, I cut his throat, and we skinned him. We cut the cow up, and cooked some, adding potatoes we had also found in the barn. We killed the rosters, and cooked them, saving the hens for laying eggs.
Battle of The Ardennes-Alsace
Battle of the Bulge
16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945
In the XX Corps, the 5th Infantry Division began to relieve the 96th Division in Saarlautern, preparatory to the final assault for a break of the Siegfried Line. It was then to attack NE in the Corps zone supported by the 10th Armored Division.
Due to heavy enemy resistance, the date of the air blitz at Zweibrucken was moved to December 21 to assure the arrival of ground troops within assaulting distance of the Siegfried Line in time for this date. The XII Corps started to place 80th Infantry and 4th Armored in line abreast of the 87th Infantry Division.
The III Corps, consisting of the 26th and 6th Armored Divisions which had become operational December 15, initiated a reconnanisance with a view to passing through the 35th Infantry Division, XII Corps, Immediately subsequent to the blitz.
Orders were issued for movement of Headquarters 3rd Army to St. Avold on December 19.
Orders were received from Twelfth Army Group directing the 10th Armored Division to be temporarily attached to VIII Corps, First Army, to counter a serious attempt at a break-through on the part of the enemy, this movement to be initiated December 17.
Note: The Saarlautern area was where the 244th operated in providing fire supporting prior to moving into the Battle of the Bulge
Spearheaded by elements of the hoarded Sixth SS Panzer Army, the enemy opened a counteroffensive in the VIII and VII Corps zones of the First U.S. Army. On the Third U.S Army front, the enemy remained wholly defensive in the III Corps zone and fought strong delaying actions from dominating ground, wooded areas and towns in the XII Corps zone. He slackened resistance in the Dillingen (Q28) bridgehead in the XX Corps zone and continued his stiff opposition in the Fraulautern (Q28) – Ensdorf (Q37) bridgehead areas.
Maintaining their position, the 6th Armored Division and Task Force Fickett continued active patrolling in the III Corps zone. An attack late in the period was launched by the 6th Armored Division to exert pressure on the enemy in its zone. The 26th Infantry Division remained at Metz (U85), while the 42nd Infantry Division was expected to start its movement to the Metz (U85) area on 18th December.
In the XII Corps zone the 87th Infantry Division continued to attack north with the 345th Infantry, which relieved the 346th Infantry, and cleared Erching (Q65), eight miles east of Sarreguenimes (Q55). The 347th Infantry made a one and one-half mile advance to the vicinity of Walsheim (Q66). Meanwhile, the 134th Infantry (35th Infantry Division) gained three-quarters of a mile in the woods five miles northeast of Sarreguenimes (Q55), while the 320th Infantry cleared Gersheim (Q66) on the Sarreguemines–Hombourg railroad. For the first time in the Third U.S. Army campaign tank destroyers knocked out three locomotives. The 4th Armored Division continued its south flank patrols while the 80th Infantry Division moved into an assembly area.
On 16th December, information was received from Third Army indicating an enemy withdrawal in the Corps zone and the 6th Armored Division was therefore directed to be prepared to at tack on the morning of the 17th with sufficient force to exploit any enemy withdrawal. The attack did not materialize as such, however, because, the 6th Armored Division found, contrary to reports, that the enemy was not withdrawing — but reinforcing. Both the 6th Armored Division and the 6th Cavalry Group continued to maintain pressure on the enemy, who was defensive, but who reacted strongly to any effort to penetrate his positions. Enemy activity during these three days consisted primarily to improving defensive positions, counter-reconnaissance missions, and harassing mortar and artillery tire. Major units in contact were the enemy 559th Grenadier Division, 347th Infantry Division, and the 36th Grenadier Division.
The 26th Division remained in Metz and on 16th December received 2,585 replacements to train as riflemen.
Battalion Commander, S-3 and Battery Commanders left at 0645 on reconnaissance for new positions. Returned 1630.
Metz, France vU8456
Butler, William H. 20 402 785 Sgt. Code J
Madden, Richard W. 36 025 699 Tec/5 Code J
Goodrum, Harry H. 20 403 496 Pfc. Code J
Baker, Elmer L. 33 505 480 Pvt. Code J
Above 4 EM frfd in gr to 26th Inf. Div. de-
parted par 1, SO #100, Hq. 244th FA Bn
CORRECTION (13 Dec 44)
Bn less Btry”B” reld from atchd XX Corps
and atchd III Corps 7 Dec 44.
Bn less Btry “B” reld from atchd XX corps
and athd III Corps 4 Dec 44.
Bn less Btry “B” reld from atchd to 26th
Inf. Div. and Bn atchd to 183rd FA Gp this
Metz, France vU8456
Richie, Sherman A. 33 367 005 Cpl. Code T
Benevich, John 33 292 667 Pvt.
Bignell, William J. 32 287 682 Pvt.
Celidonio, Joseph J. 20 234 965 Pvt.
Delfarco, Frank 32 984 946 Pvt.
Matta, Michael V. 35 005 463 Pvt.
Patterson, Marvin L. 34 440 186 Pvt.
Thomas, Jack B. 20 410 822 Pvt.
Above 8 EM trfd in Cr to 26th Inf Div de-
parted par 1, SO #100, Hq this Bn
CORRECTION (13 Dec 44)
RECORD OF EVENTS
Reld from atchd XX Corps & atchd to III
Corps 7 Dec 44.
Reld from atchd XX Corps & atchd to III
Corps 4 Dec 44
Reld from atchd 26th Inf Div & atchd to
183rd FA Gp this date.
Duren, Germany wQ2278
Messick, Troy P. 34 390 991 Pvt. Code T
Causey, Claudis F. 34 359 354 Pvt. Code T
Champion Robert E. 34 339 218 Pvt. Code T
Clewell, Carl E. 39 409 593 Pvt. Code T
DeMarco, Thomas J. 33 301 255 Pvt. Code T
Gable, Americus 34 580 597 Pvt. Code T
Hillery, John R. 11 051 319 Pvt. Code T
Above 7 EM trfd in Cr to 26th Inf Div
Departed par 1, SO 100, Hq this Bn.
Metz, France vU8456
Stone, Elbert A. 37 495 235 Tec/5
Candelaria, John J. 39 693 446 Pfc.
Heaton, Johnny C. 36 442 026 Pfc.
Chance, Eddie C. 34 359 213 Pvt.
Finnegau, Frank F. 35 584 856 Pvt.
Hopkins, Robert M. 33 728 816 Pvt.
Nelson, Jesse W. 34 248 853 Pvt.
Above 7 EM trfd in gr to 26th Inf Div
Inf Trng Cen per par 1, SO #100 Hq 244th
FA Bn, departed 1300
CORRECTION (13 Dec 44)
Reld from Atchd XX Corps & atchd to III
Corps (7 Dec 44)
Reld from atchd XX corps & atchd to III
Corps 4 Dec 44.
Reld from atchd 26th Inf Div & atchd to
183rd FA Gp this date.
Metz, France vU8456
CORRECTION (13 Dec 44)
Reld from atchd XX Corps & atchd to III
Corps 7 Dec 44
Reld from atchd XX corps & atchd to III
Corps 4 Dec 44.
Reld from atchd 26th Inf Div & atchd to
183rd FA Gp this date
Metz, France vU8456
CORRECTION (13 Dec 44)
Reld from atchd XX corps & atchd to
III Corps 7 Dec 44.
Reld from atchd XX Corps & atchd to
III Corps 4 Dec 44.
Reld from atchd 26th Inf Div & atchd
to 183rd FA Gp this date.
Still with my platoon at ______ waiting for something to do. The Battery is scattered all over creation – some here – some over there – Haven’t seen the Captain for two days. Soon we are going to rejoin the Battalion and function as a whole again. Our shooting now will be serious – last month the peashooters this month the Long Tom’s. The outfit has had a very varied life. We’ve done about everything but act as a “Bakery Unit”. Your #65 and a letter from Peg arrived. Two from Jane – (Nov 1, Nov 30!!) came this morning. Seems to be some sort of a delay -. No packages since Uncle Art’s. Perhaps tomorrow. We are all in very good health and high spirits. Germany is just like France, cold, muddy and wet!! Will write again soon – My love to all
Attacking to the northwest, the 6th Armored Division in the III Corps zone reached an area just south of Lixing (Q46, four miles northwest of Sarreguenimes (Q55), while Task Force Pickett exercised vigorous patrolling. The 26th Infantry Division continued regrouping and training in the Metz (Q85) area.
On the southeast of XII Corps zone, the 4th Armored Division made local advances near Epping-Ureach (Q65), eleven miles east of Sarreguenimes (Q55), while immediately to the north in the 87th Infantry Division zone the 345th Infantry made a one mile advance to the outskirts of Seyweiler (Q66), seven miles southwest of Zweibrücken (Q77), and the 347th Infantry advanced one mile and cleared the woods north of Walsheim (Q66), which is one and one-half miles west of Gehweiler (Q66). The 80th Infantry Division continued its movement to an assembly area in vicinity of Bixing (Q64)
0830 – HQ Battery left Metz for new position at Sengbuch – (wQ3422-5750) by motor
convoy arriving at 1035. Distance traveled: 28 miles. Weather: clear. Morale:
1000 – Battalion commander and advance party left Battalion CP at Metz for new position,
arriving at 1120.
1125 – Communications (Wire) established with 183rd Field Artillery Group.
1300 – Battalion CP and Message Center established.
1400 – “A” & “C” Batteries left Metz by serials.
1600 – Survey Detail reported to FDC with field survey completed.
1630 – Base piece, Battery “A” arrived in position.
1800 – “A” & “C” Batteries reported complete arrival with guns in position.
2300 – Communication (wire) with “A” & “C” Batteries established.
The Battalion departed Metz France. Off to war.
Note: Here the 244th provides artillery support for the III Corps attacking in the Seingbouse Sector east of Metz. The III Army was launching an attack into Germany through the Siegfried Line with the 244th being one of the first units to enter Germany.
The Battalion arrived Seingbouse France, firing our first rounds into Germany in the Forbach-Saar-Bruken sector of Germany.
At the direction of the Army Group Commander I reported to his Headquarters in Luxembourg, accompanied by G-2, G-3, and G-4 of the 3rd Army. The situation of the enemy break-through, as then known, was explained.
General Bradley asked when I could intervene. I satated I could do so with three divisions very shortly. I then telephoned the Chief of Staff 3rd Army and directed that the attack of the 4th Armored and 80th Infantry Divisions be halted and sufficient transportation to move the 80th Division anytime after dawn of the 19th be collected. That the 4th Armored Division be Prepared to move the night 16 – 19 December. Also, to notify the XIX Tactical Air Command that the blitz was off for the present.
General Bradle called at 2200 hours and stated that the situation was worse than it had been at noon and directed that the troops as per previous paragraph be moved as rapidly as possible. Also, that General Milliken move forward echelon of his headquarters to the front. I suggested ARLON. This was approved. General Bradle further ordered that General Milliken report in person to the Chief of Staff Twelfth Army Group on the morning of the 19th; and that I, accompanied by one staff officer, meet General Bradley for a conference with General Eisenhower at Verdun at 1100 the same date.
One Combat Command of the 4th Armored moved at midnight on Longwy, followed by remainder of division at dawn. The 80th Infantry started to move on Luxembourg at dawn December 19. The G-4 of the Twelfth Army Group facilitated these operations by a rapid collection of truck companies from Company Z.
Along the VIII Corps front and on the majority of the 7th Corps front in the First U.S. Army zone, the heavy enemy counterattack which had been developed for several days reached an acute stage. The attack made by a strong force of enemy units, initially consisting of approximately fifteen divisions, in addition to those previously identified in the sector, was generated by Sixth SS Panzer Army, under the guidance of General Von Rundstidt, commander of all enemy forces on the Western Front. Penetrations by this time had been made into zone of VIII Corps (which then consisted of the 106th, 28th, 4th Infantry Division and the 9th Armored Division) and into the 99th Infantry Division of V corps. This penetration of approximately forty miles in depth and thirty miles in with was made along the St. Vith (P88) – St. Hubert (P36) axis, with the flanks anchored in the south on Echternach (L03), Diekirch (P84) and Ettelbruck (P84) and in the north on Monschau (X91), Malmedy (K70), Stavelot (K70) and Marche (P29). Information at this time from the VIII Corps was scant as to the tactical situation, but the conclusion was reached, however, that the situation was very fluid and that the combat efficiency of VIII Corps, consisting mainly of the divisions mentioned above, was unknown. This created a tactical situation that was extremely critical for the Allied Forces along the Western Front.
To combat this penetration and disrupting counter-offensive in the First U.S. Army zone, the Supreme Commander issued orders through the Commanding General of Twelfth U.S. Army Group that Commanding General of Third U.S. Army assume command of VIII Corps troops south of the enemy break-through, which could be regrouped and committed, and to attack north to drive, cut off and destroy the enemy which had penetrated the First U.S. Army zone.
The Army Commander, in order to place the Third U.S. Army into high gear against the enemy penetration and to swing its main effort from the east to the north, issued the following orders to the corps under his command:
XII Corps was ordered to relinquish operational control of its assigned zone to the Seventh U.S. Army, passed control of the 80th Infantry Division and attached troops and of the 4th Armored Division and attached troops to the III Corps, and relinquish control of the 87th Infantry Division and attached troops to the Seventy U.S. Army. After being relieved by Seventh U.S. Army units, the corps was to withdraw the 35th Infantry Division and attached troops and XII Corps troops from their zone to the vicinity of Metz (U85). On completion of this relief and transfers the corps was to move the remainder of the corps, less attachments to the Seventh U.S. Army to the vicinity of Luxembourg (P81) and assume control of the 5th Infantry Division and attached troops.
III Corps was ordered to relinquish responsibility of the corps zone to the XX Corps. It was to pass control of the 6th Armored Division and the 6th Cavalry Group (reinforced) to XX Corps, move the 26th Infantry Division and attached troops to the Arlon (P62) and assume control of the 4th Armored Division and attached troops and of the 80th Infantry Division and attached troops upon their arrival.
XX Corps was ordered to assume responsibility of III Corps zone, assume control of the 6th Armored Division and attached troops and the 6th Cavalry Group (reinforced), relieve the 5th Infantry Division in the Saarlauzern (Q28) bridgehead and the 5th Infantry Division and attached troops to the vicinity of Luxembourg (P81)
Reacting sharply to patrol activity, the enemy continued to maintain a defensive attitude in III Corps zone. He continued to fight strong delaying motions in the XII Corps zone, but decreased his resistance in the bridgehead area of XX Corps zone.
The 6th Armored division continued to be heavily engaged with the enemy with no particular change in the situation in the III Corps zone. Task Force Fickett continued to patrol aggressively in the vicinity of Karlsbrunn (Q36), eight miles southwest of Saarbrücken (Q47). III Corps assumed command of the 4th Armored Division and the 80th Infantry Division, which started immediate movement to the vicinity of Longwy, (P00).
Elements of the 345th Infantry (87th Infantry Division), operating on the XII Corps south boundary, cleared Medelsheim (Q66), eight miles southeast of Zweibrücken (Q77). This town had previously been by-passed, resulting in other elements of the division being in Seyweiler (Q66) one mile to the north. Leading elements of the 347th Infantry (87th Infantry Division) continued fighting on the high ground one-half mile south of Bliesdalheim (Q66), seven miles southwest of Zweibrücken (Q77). Meanwhile, in a zone just to the west, the 35th Infantry Division continued pushing ahead against stiffening enemy resistance, with the 320th Infantry gaining one-half mile south of Bebelsheim (Q56) and the 137th Infantry clearing the woods southeast of Bebelsheim (Q56) and attacking Bliesmengen (Q56), three miles northeast of Sarreguemines (Q55). The 80th Infantry Division closed in the south part of the corps zone in the rear and prepared to move out under III Corps, while the 4th Armored Division was being relieved of its responsibilities on its front. The zone vacated by the III Corps was assumed by the XIII Corps which gained temporary control of the 6th Armored Division and Task Force Fickett until 20th December at which time XX Corps took over operational control.
The 378th Infantry (95th Infantry Division) continued fighting in the Ensdorf (Q37) bridgehead with no advances reported, while the 377th Infantry closed in the vicinity of Hargarten (Q17), six miles northeast of Boulay-Moselle (Q06). Meanwhile the 5th Infantry Division was fighting heavily in the bridgehead areas of Fraulautern (Q38) and Saarlautern Roden (Q38), with local advances made in both towns. The Commanding General of the 5th Infantry Division took over command of the XX Corps bridgehead area on 18th December, completely relieving the 95th Infantry Division. Dillingen (Q28) was being mopped up by the 90th Infantry Division, with ferrying operations continuing to bring supplies and material across the Saar River. Task Force Polk continued its patrolling on the corps north flank.
On 18th December, as the Corps staff was preparing its plans for future operations and for displacement of the Command Post to a more forward location, information was received of the German breakthrough in the First Army zone. Later in the evening, the Commanding General, III Corps, and the chiefs of general staff sections were called to a conference at Headquarters Third Army in Nancy. At 2200 the Chief of Staff, III Corps, received instructions from the Corps Commander to move the Corps Headquarters to Longwy the following morning, and it was assumed then that the Corps was to be employed against the German offensive.
Meanwhile approximately 3,000 replacements had been received by the 26th Division through the 48th Replacement Battalion, and a large number of these had been absorbed by the division; the remainder were assigned to other units within Third Army.
Patton then telephoned the Chief of Staff 3rd Army and directed that the attack of the 4th Armored and 80th Infantry Divisions be halted and sufficient transportation to move the 80th Division any time after dawn of the 19th be collected. That the 4th Armored Division be prepared to move the night 18th-19th December. One combat Command of the 4th Armored moved at midnight on Longwy followed by remainder of division at dawn. The 80th Infantry started to move on Luxembourg at dawn 19th December.
0830 – Battalion Commander and party left for OP arriving there at 0900.
1000 – Battery “A” registered on Check Point 1 and 2: expending 47 rounds ammo on Check
Point 1 and 17 rounds on Check Point 2. These were the first 244th FA Battalions
guns to fire on German soil.
1025 – Battery “C” registered on Check Point 1 and 2; expending 34 rounds ammo on Check
Point 1 and 11 rounds on Check Point 2.
1100 – “D’ Battery (Hq. Battery.) communications established although guns not in position.
1230 – S-2 left to locate new forward OP’s.
1300 – “D” Batter (HQ. Battery.) (8.8 Pak How) went into position and ready to fire
No ammunition available.
1630 – Battalion commander and party returned from OP.
1645 – S-2 returned to FDC.
1700 – 2400 – “A” Battery fired 10 harassing missions; expending 35 rounds ammo.
No caption – Battle of the Bulge, Luxembourg
The 8,8 cm (88mm) Pak 43/41 was designed as an anti-tank gun (Panzer-Abwehr-Kanone) for direct fire on tanks but could also be used as an artillery gun for indirect fire.
The photo shows a Pak 41 which has split-trails instead of a cruciform mount that the Pac 43 uses. Both guns fire the same ammunition and the Pak 43/41 was the main weapon of the Tiger II, Jagdpanther
Left my platoon this morning and am now back with the Air Station near the Battalion. Went up and adjusted the Long Toms after dinner – it was sort of foggy but we made out OK. The men are tickled pink to be doing some real shooting. “B” Battery will come in as soon as they finish up. Drove thru Metz today – it’s sure a nice town -. The Beer there was the best ever. We had several cases of it. Regular German brew. No mail at all today in fact for 3 days. When my packages come in I’ll be loaded down. We are going to move the section and planes to another town – one with nicer houses, lights and running water. More later on. The candle is giving out. Love to all.
Meeting of all Corps Commanders and the Commanding General of the XIX Tactical Air Command and the General Staff of the 3rd Army was called at 0800. The new situation was explained. I stated that the reputation of the 3rd Army and XIX Tactical Air Command for speed and effectiveness resulted from the efficiency of the officers’ present, and that I counted upon them for even greater success.
On the assumption that the VIII Corps would be assigned to 3rd Army, a plan for the employment of III and VIII Corps was drawn up. Arlon-Bastogne; Luxemourg-Diekirch-St. Vich.
A brief telephone call between myself and the Chief of Staff 3rd Army was drawn up.
Left for Verdun at 0930, arrived at 1045.
As a result of the conference, the Supreme Commander directed that the Sixth Army Group take over the southern front as far north as the southern boundary of the XX Corps, 3rd Army; the 6th Armored Division to stay in the Saarbrucken area until relieved by elements of the 7th Army. The 87th and 42nd Infantry Division of the 3rd Army to pass to the 7th Army.
At this moment, it seemed to me probably that the 3rd Army in its new role would be constituted as follows;
VIII Corps (Gen. Middelton) in vicinity of Neufchateau – 101st Airborne division, and elements of 28th Infantry, 9th and 10th Armored Division, and 106th Infantry Division, plus Corps troops. III Corps (Gen. Milliken) in vicinity of Arlon – 26th Infantry, 80th Infantry, and 4th Armored Division. The XII Corps (Gen. Eddy) to be assembled in vicinity of Luxembourg – consisting fo 35th, 4th and 5th Infantry Division, and elements of the 9th and 10th Armored Division. The XX Corps (Gen. Walker) in vicinity of Thionville – 90th and 95th Infantry Division, 6th Armored Division when relieved by 7th Army, and Task Force Polk.
In reply to a questin from General Eisenhower as to when the 3rd Army could attack to the north, I stated it coule attack with III Corps on the 23re of December.
After meeting at Verdun, I called Chief of Staff 3rd Army on phone and gave following instructions: 26th Infantry Division to be moved December 20 to vicinity of Arlon, advanced detachments to move at once. The XII Corps to disengage, and Corps Headquarters and artillery to move to vicinity of Luxembourg 21st of December, leaving a working headquarters at old location until such time as it could be relieved by XV Corps, 7th Army. 35th Infantry Division to be withdrawn from line and assembled at Metz. Tactical Echelon 3rd Army Headquarters to move on Luxembourg 20th of December. Forward Echelon III Corps to move in vicinity of Arlon at once.
III Corps started moving the 26th Infantry Division from Metz (U85) to an area northeast of Arlon (Q62) while the 4th Armored Division and the 80th Infantry Division continued movement to the vicinity of Arlon (P62) and Luxembourg (Q81), respectively.
XIII Corps, still utilizing the 6th Armored Division and Task Force Fickett, took over temporary control of III Corps zone in addition to its own. The 87th Infantry Division, on the south flank maintained and consolidated its front lines. Heavy artillery fire was directed at the 347th infantry on the high ground one-half mile south of Bliesdalued (Q66), seven miles southeast of Zweibrucken (Q77). The 35th Infantry Division also maintained and consolidated its position, with the 134th Infantry two miles northwest of Gersheim (Q66), the 137th Infantry in the vicinity of Bliesmengen (Q56), three mile southeast of Sarrecuewines (Q55), and the 320th Infantry astride the Sarreguemines–Hombourg (Q55) railroad, one-half mile north of Gersheim (Q66).
Artillery with the Army was extensively regrouped to support offensive operations on the northern front. Attached to III Corps were one field artillery group, two light, three medium and one heavy battalion detached from XII Corps and two field artillery groups, one light and one medium battalion detached from XX Corps. In addition, one field artillery observation battalion newly arrived on the Continent and assigned to Third U.S. Army attached III corps. All commenced to move immediately and closed in the vicinity of the III Corps artillery assembly area at Villers (U69) during the night of 19th -20th December. III Corps artillery which passed intact to the control of XII Corps included, in addition to the 6th Armored Division’s organic artillery, one field artillery group, one field artillery observation battalion, one light, one medium and one heavy battalion.
On the morning of 19th December, the Commanding General, Chief of Staff, G-2 and G-3, of III Corps left Metz for Luxembourg to attend a conference at Headquarters Twelfth Army Group, and the forward echelon of Corps departed for 49.5191018, 5.7550588, 18588m. The 80th Infantry and 4th Armored Divisions were attached to III Corps by verbal instructions of the Commanding General, Third Army. Neither of these divisions was engaged at the time, both having been relieved in the line shortly before the beginning of the German offensive. During the morning, of the 19th,in accordance with instructions received by the Divisions from Headquarters Third Army, they began their movement from the XII Corps zone to the North. The 26th Infantry Division which remained under III Corps control, was still in Metz where it had recently absorbed approximately 2,400 replacements from III Corps Infantry Replacement Training Center, and where it was conducting training.
At 1100 Corps Headquarters at Longwy moved immediately to Luxembourg; the 80th Infantry and 4th Armored Divisions were relieved from attachment to III Corps; and the 9th and 10th Armored and 4th Infantry Divisions were attached to the Corps. As the Corps was moving into its school house headquarters in Luxembourg at 1600, Major General Leven C. Allen, Chief of Staff, Twelfth Army Group notified the Commanding General, III Carps that the Corps Headquarters was to move to Arlon, Belgum next morning; that, as originally planned, the 26th Infantry, 80th Infantry and 4th Armored Divisions were to be attached to the III Corps instead of the 9th and 10th Armored and 4th Infantry Divisions. The Corps staff consequently began to make plans for the displacement to Arlon, and for the coming offensive.
Eleven field artillery battalions, all of which were at the time actively engaged, and three tank destroyer battalions (attached to divisions) were attached to Corps by Third Army. At 1745 those battalions were on the road, expecting to close in assembly area vicinity of Villers the following day.
During the night Corps was directed by Third Army to attack on the morning of the 22nd. This attack was designed to hit the enemy on his Southern flank and to open a corridor to Bastogne where the 101st Airborne Division, reinforced, continued to hold out against enemy assaults.
Eleven field artillery battalions, all of which were at the time actively engaged, and three tank destroyer battalions (attached to divisions) were attached to III Corps by Third Army. At 1745 those battalions were on the road, expecting to close in assembly area vicinity of Villers the following day.
SHOULDER SLEEVE INSIGNIA
An old Dutch windmill in orange on a blue shield of the outline of the shield on the
sealn of the city of New Amsterdam.
The design is symbolic of New York, previously known as New Amsterdam. The corps
was originally allocated to New York state.
DISTINCTIVE UNIT INSIGNIA
Constituted 1 October 1933 in the Organized Reserves as Headquarters, XII Corps. Organized 24 January 1934 at New York, New York. Redesignated 1 January 1941 as Headquarters, XII Army Corps. Redesignated 19 August 1942 as Headquarters, XII Corps. Ordered into active military service 29 August 1942 and reorganized at Columbia, South Carolina. Inactivated 15 December 1945 in Germany. (Organized Reserved redesignated 25 March 1948 as the Organized Reserve Corps; redesignated 9 July 1952 as the Army Reserve.) Redesignated 15 October 1958 as Headquarters, XII United States Army Corps; concurrently withdrawn from the Army Reserve and allotted to the Regular Army. Activated 1 November 1958 at Atlanta, Georgia, inactivated 1 April 1968 at Atlanta, Georgia.
CAMPAIGN PARTICIPATION CRRDIT
World War II
Ardennes – Alsace
December 1944, Fort Sill Artillery School – Graduate Class 27, Battalion Battery “C”
Pvt. Robert Caywood – second row down, tenth from left. He then joined the 244th.
The Battalion was detached from III Corps and attached to XII Corps.
The Battalion (less “B” Battery) was relieved of attachment to III Corps and attached to XII Corps. Battery “B” was relieved of attachment to XX Corps and attached to XII Corps, returning to this Battalion.
0745 – Complete survey of gun positions forward to 183rd FA Group.
1140 – Overlay showing map location of OP’s (Visibility Chart) forward to 183rd FA
0830 – 2400 – “A” and “C” Batteries combine fire twenty-four missions as follows: 12
Harassing; 2 TOT’s; 2 S & F and 8 others – expending 126 rounds ammunition. Battalion relieved from attachment to XX Corps an attached to XII Corps per Troop Assignment No. A-76, Headquarters, Third U.S Army, Date 20th December 1944. Battery “B” relieved from special assignment and returned to Metz where they are checking their guns preparatory to joining the Battalion.
When we could locate targets of sufficient importance we certainly used time-on-target. Otherwise, we fired – – our own battalion – – at smaller targets. I can remember finding a battalion of German artillery in the woods and I called in for time-on-target. What I did there was to adjust one gun in my battalion and then survey in on target, not on the German artillery but on a target near those woods that I could locate on the map and get it accurately adjusted. Then I sent the data into the Fire Direction Center; they sent the data to the Corps Artillery Fire Direction Centers; and they got all the other battalions that were within range all lined up to fire on the German Artillery battalion. We did fire time-on-target on that. They were surveyed in too, so they knew the range to the target and they also knew the time of flight of their shells once they fired. So, it was a devastating thing for the Germans. I think I mentioned before that after the war when the US Army sent a commission around to check on everything, the Germans called it automatic artillery.
I visited Twelfth Army Group at Luxembourg, then the Commanding General of the III and VII Corps and 4th and 26th Infantry Division, 9th and 10th Armored Division, and the advanced echelon 80th Division which had just reached Luxembourg.
As it was apparent that for the present the VIII Corps had no offensive power, it was directed to hold Bastogne with the 101st Ariborn Division and following attachments: one CC of the 9th Armored and one CC of the 10th Armored Division; the 705th DT Bn., les one company; and some Corps Artillery. Remainder of the Corps to fall back, using delaying action and demolitions.
The III Corps is to attack with the purpose of relieving Bastogne n 22nd of December at 0600. The Commanding General 10th Armored Division was directed to take temporary command of XII Corps pending aarrival of that Headquartgers. Also, to incorporate in his unit one CC of the 9th Armored Division in the vicinity of Luxembourg. The Commanding General of the 9th Armored Division with his Headquarters was sent to VIII Corps to take over command of two combat commands of the 9th Armored and one combat command of the 10th Armored Division.
Through the Chief of Staff 3rd Army arranged for immediate movement to new theater of combat of all self-propelled tank destrouer battalions and separate tank battalions, necessary ammunition, engineers, and hospitals.
Also, that the 5th Division be disengaged at Saarlautern be moved on Luxembourg at once. Note: The 10th Infantry of the 5th Division actually reached Luxembourg at midnight this day, and one company of tank destroyer of the 818th TD Bn, which had been in combat east of the Saar River that night, having marched in the meantime 69 miles.
It is note worthy that all the operations, including plans for attack executed on the 22nd of December, were done by personal conference or by telephone, and that the highly complicated road and supply movements were only made possible by the old and very experienced General Staff of the 3rd Army and the high discipline and devotion to duty of all the units involved.
The Army Commander gave the various Corps Commanders the new mission of Third U.S. Army. This directive stated in part:
“1. a. Enemy armored columns penetrated the First U.S Army front in the Malmedy
(K70) and Bastogne (P55) areas and threaten the vital Namur (J91) – Liege
(K42) communications centers.
b. First U.S. Army will attack south and restore the front in the Malmedy (K70) area and destroy the enemy in zone.
“2. Third U.S. Army will change direction and will attack to the north from the area
Luxembourg (P81) – Arlon (P62) to destroy the enemy on its front and be prepared
to change direction to the northeast and seize crossings of the Rhine River.
“3. III Corps (26th and 80th Infantry Divisions, 4th Armored Division and attached troops)
a. Attack north in zone on Army order in the direction St. Vith (P88) and destroy
the enemy on its front.
b. Maintain contact with XII Corps on east and with VIII Corps on west.
“4. XII Corps (4th and 5th Infantry Divisions, 10th Armored Division less Combat
Command “B”, plus Combat Command “A” 9th Armored Division, 2nd Cavalry
Group and attached troops) will:
a. Hold west bank of Moselle River in zone.
b. On Army order, attack initially north on the right of III Corps and destroy
enemy in zone.
c. Push aggressive patrols to east and northeast to determine location of crossings
of Sauer River and Our River and strength of enemy in Echternach (L03) area.
Be prepared on Army order to change direction of attack to the northeast to
force crossings and penetrate Siegfried Line in zone and advance in direction
of Bitburg (L15).
d. Maintain contact with XX Corps on south and III Corps on west.
e. Protect right (east) flank of Third U.S. Army.
“5. VIII Corps (101st Airborne Division, 28th Infantry Division, 9th Armored Division,
less Combat Command “A”, plus Combat Command “B” 10th Armored Division and
attached troops) will:
a. Continue defense of zone.
b. Regroup forces in zone prepared to attack north on Army order to destroy
enemy in zone.
c. Maintain contact with III Corps on east.
“6. XX Corps (95th and 90th Infantry Divisions, 6th Armored Division, 3rd Cavalry
Group, 6th Cavalry Group (reinforced) and attached troops will:
a. Defend Saarlautern (Q28) bridgehead.
b. Hold and defend present front lines.
c. Pass to Seventh U.S. Army control of zones now held by 6th Armored Division
and 6th Cavalry Group (reinforced).
d. On relief of 6th Armored Division and 6th Cavalry Group (reinforced), assemble
6th Armored Division in area from which it will be prepared to counterattack in
any direction in Third or Seventh U.S. Army zones.
e. Be prepared to pass control of 6th Cavalry Group (reinforced) to III Corps.
f. Maintain contact with XII Corps and Seventh U.S. Army.
g. Protect southeast flank Third U.S. Army.
“7. In the attack, all corps will advance in multiple columns, all columns to be composed
of tanks and infantry.
“8. III Corps will attack 21 December (attack actually began on 22 December), XII Corps
and VIII Corps will attack on Army order.
“9 a. The following air support will be provided for this operation:
(1) Heavy bombers by Eighth U.S. Air Force.
(2) Medium bombers by Ninth U.S. Bomber Division.
(3) Seven fighter-bomber groups, one tactical reconnaissance group and one
night fighter squadron by XIX Tactical Air Command.
b. Air support missions will be requested through Commanding General, XIX Tactical
As seen by the above operational directive, VIII Corps in its new mission was to consist or the 101st Airborne Division, then in the isolated Bastogne (P55) area, which had attached Reserve Combat Command of the 9th Armored Division and Combat Command “B” of the 10th Armored Division Combat Command “B” of the 9th Armored Division which was located in the zone of the First U.S. Army and the 28th Infantry Division. The remainder of the units previously under VIII Corps, First U.S. Army, were committed, as quickly as they could be regrouped, to other corps of the Third U.S. Army.
Tactical Echelon of Third U.S. Army Headquarters moved to Luxembourg (P81) to direct the action in the enemy break-through area.
III Corps set up its Command Post in the vicinity of Arlon (P62) at 1200 20th December and continued assembling its major elements preparing to advance to the north. The 26th Infantry Division was established at Eischen (P62), the 80th Infantry Division at Dommeldange (P81) while the 4th Armored Division closed in an assembly area west of Arlon (P02).
The 6th Armored Division patrolled aggressively along the front from Sarreguemines (Q55) to Forbaoh (Q46) in the XII Corps zone, while the 35th Infantry Division established strong defensive positions immediately east of Sarrenguemines (Q55). Control over that zone passed at 202400 to XV Corps at which time the Command Echelon of XII Corps started movement to Luxembourg (P81). The 87th Infantry Division started relief of the 35th Infantry Division in zone.
0001 to 1014 – “A” and “C” Batteries Combined fire 30 missions as follows: 24 harassing, 2 TOT’s, 1 S&F, 3 other missions – expending 64 rounds ammunition.
1130 – Battery “C” fired 1 mission – target; locomotive expending 30 rounds ammo. Battery “C” fired 4 rounds.
1330 – Battery “D” registered on Check Point No. 5; expending 13 rounds ammunition.
1520 – 2400 Battery “A” and Battery “C” combine fired 20 missions as follows: 9 harassing missions; 2 registrations (check points): Ammunition expended: 231 rounds.