3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, (9th Inf. Div.)
16 Nov - 25 Nov 1944
Interviews with Capt. Gael M. Frazier, Co, L Co., 3d Bn.
Capt. William L. McWaters, CO, K Co., 3d Bn.
Place: GROßBADEGAST, Germany. Date: 15 May 1945
Interviewer: Maj. Kenneth W, Hechler, 2d Info & Hist Sv.
In the early part of the coordinated First Army attack commencing 16 November, the 3d Bn., 47th played a relatively minor role. On D-day, at 1700, Co. K was ordered to cut the road leading northeast from GRESSENICH (989427) at the point (995433). By this time the 1st Battalion had pushed through HAMICH (002437) and had troops east of GRESSENICH.
There was no opposition met by K Co. in its 16 November mission, but the terrain was rough and it was getting dark fast. Not until 2215 was the road cut and a road block established to secure it.
On 17 and 18 November, the 3d Bn, maintained their positions, alerted to move on short notice. The plan of attack for 19 November was for the 3d Bn, to move from their positions in the vicinity of SCHEVENHÜTTE (005420) and occupy Hill 232 as soon as it was cleared by the 1st Bn. and be prepared to attack and seize BOVENBERG (998468). That day the 1st Bn. did not clear Hill 232, so the attack on BOVENBERG was postponed, and the 3d Bn. moved up to position in the south edge of the woods in the vicinity of (995450).
On 20 November the 3d Bn. advanced through Bovenberger Wald with. K Co. on the left, L Go. on the right and I Co. in reserve. Heavy casualties were suffered from small arms fire in the advance through the woods. The enemy was dug in well, and advance across the level, wooded terrain was extremely costly. "They just stayed longer without giving up", commented Capt. McWaters. The enemy tactics coordinated his defence wall with defensive artillery preparations, and often ho would pull back when threatened with being overrun, only to bring down artillery concentrations when troops tried to exploit their gains. The battalion suffered 70 casualties in Bovenberger Wald, and took positions for the night at (995460).
The plan for 21 November was for the 3d Bn to proceed northeast through the woods to BOVENBERG in conjunction with the attack of the 16th Inf. on the right and the 1st Bn's attack on Hills 167 and 187. The Bn. jumped off at 0900 on the 21st with I on the left and L Co. on the right. The companies were to continue abreast through the small neck of woods south of BOVENBERG. L's right flank rested on the road which skirted the eastern edge of the Bovenberger Wald. Tanks and TDs proceeded along this road, but did no firing until they reached the crossroads at (001468), because trees blocked their field of fire.
The little neck of woods south of BOVENBERG and the dairy buildings were the scene of bitter fighting. The woods consisted of short, thick pine trees; its area was 50-75 yards square. Small arms and artillery fire met two platoons, coming from all directions to the front and flanks. Because of the heavy walls on the dairy at (998468), the enemy could call down artillery upon himself and remain within the building unharmed. As the platoons of L Co. approached closer to the dairy, they were met by grazing fire coming from a series of ground-level slits in the dairy building. The only protection which L Co. had was a series of previously dug positions which the Germans had evacuated in order to enter the dairy itself.
Finally, the remaining members of the two platoons — one to the right and the other echeloned to the left rear — attempted to assault the dairy building. The platoon on the right actually reached the building but was repulsed by numbers of hand-grenades which the enemy dropped from second-story windows. One squad made a bayonet attack, but only one man survived it. One platoon penetrated to a small patch of woods east of the dairy, and was there cut off by fire and was unable to go either forward or rearward. A heavy smoke screen was thrown to enable the trapped patoon to get out: six men came out unscathed, dragging 15-20 wounded.
As a result of the bitter fighting on 21 November, L Co. alone lost approximately 35 killed; 2 officers were killed and 2 wounded, leaving Capt. Frazler the only officer left in the company. The weapons platoon, which had dug in at the edge of the woods south of BOVENBERG to prevent a counterattack, was the only group within the company that remained in reasonably good condition. Yet including the weapons platoon, L Co, had a fighting strength of only 37 men at the close of day on 21 November.
On 28 November, it was decided to send K Co. to attack the dairy, with two platoons abreast, and with one platoon and a machine gun platoon from M Co. establishing a base of fire. Before advancing on the dairy, artillery fire from 8 inch howitzers was called for, and 26 direct hits were scored on the dairy. When K Co. reached the dairy, it was discovered that the enemy had pulled out; there were no casualties suffered that day.
World War II Reminiscence of George L. Nicklin, K Co., 47th Infantry Regiment
Bovenberg Farm Battle
I fought as a 60 mm mortar gunner, after a week as a rifleman on the front, for which I was trained, with K Company, 47th Regiment, Ninth Infantry Division ("Old Reliable") in the Bovenberg Farm area. I remember when we pushed off on the north side of Hamich. We shortly found ourselves in the woods on the Bovenberg Farm where our Company, which started with 120 men-by day's end-was down to 65 men. We were able to fight on. This was my initiation to really intense fighting.
In reading about it, Captain Phillips described Ira Rosenfeld's attempt to alleviate the pressure on the troops in the forest of the Bovenberg Farm. Fortunately, this was somewhat successful, but the pressure was caused by the lack of the First Division's advance on the right flank.
My own involvement in the battle-my co-mortar man, John Pugh and I dug a slit trench in the forest at Bovenberg Farm with the intention of protecting ourselves from the heavy shelling which we were receiving. We settled into it for the night and found that we had a co-occupant in our slit trench, who kept running back and forth over our faces and the other parts of our clothed bodies during the night-it was a field mouse! We had just settled into the slit trench and had about an hour's sleep when we were ordered to move on, with the end result that we stayed awake throughout that night and through the next two nights as well, because of our extremely close proximity with the Germans. Those nights, we spent in the heavily wooded area of the Bovenberg Farm. Once we achieved the farm buildings, I recall that Emmett Schuette, our Company Mess Sergeant had hot food brought up to the very well concrete-walled courtyard of the farm where we had our Thanksgiving dinner. It was a tremendous boost to morale. Unfortunately after three days of fighting in the Bovenberg Farm area, there were only about 55 of us left-out of 120 or so that had started out.
We continued with K Company, assigned to the Second Battalion on the 47th Regiment for the attack on Frenzenberg Castle. I, myself, was extremely calm after having been thoroughly shaken on the first day of the battle and the uproar of the previous three days battle.
After a good Thanksgiving Dinner on 25 November, K Co. moved northeast attached to the 2d Bn, to secure FRENZERBURG Castle. At 1830 on 26 November, Co. L moved into position from (008484) to (009479); I Co. established a road block at the junction (004481) while platoon and the rest of the company went into an assembly area in the vicinity of (002476). Aside from K Co., which was engaged in the assault on the FRENZERBURG Castle with the 2d Bn., 47th Inf. (See separate account of this assault), the 3d Bn., 47th Inf. had no further action in this area.
Maj., Inf. (Armored)