in Germany's Hurtgen Forest
14 November 1944 - D+162
The Assistant G-1 First Army visited the division to check on casualties and replacements. The hazards of fighting were intensified by the dense forest and the lack of roads. Medical aid men found it necessary to carry litter cases up to two miles over rough terrain and through extensive mine fields. The casualty rate among aid men and litter bearers was extremely high and replacements were difficult to obtain. It was necessary to use other means for this purpose and to utilize personnel from rear installations.
The enemy defended its same front line with heavy artillery and mortar barrages. Only one other action, a single patrol; which withdrew hastily upon engagement with the 298 Engineer Combat Battalion was reported. No change of activities for the 8th and 22nd Infantry. The 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry relieved the 2nd Battalion on the main line of resistance and the 2nd Battalion moved to an assembly area, closing therein by 1700.
15 November 1944 - D+163
The Division obtained 27 Medical Department enlisted men. This was the last large shipment of medical personnel received during the month. This was only about half the number of men needed to fill existing vacancies. Throughout the month, the problem remained acute.
The enemy defended its same front line with heavy artillery and mortar fire. A total of 35 shellings were reported by division units. The largest weapon employed was 210 mm. It appeared that most of the shellings were directed just behind our front lines and in the division rear areas (among them, the CP of the Division but without casualties), using this means to prevent our organizing an attack while the enemy probed our lines with patrols.
Troops of the 8th Infantry continued construction and improvement of shelters and protective covering. The 12th Infantry continued to improve positions, fields of fire and main supply road. Installations of mines and booby traps were completed. The 22nd Infantry put emphasis on discussion and studying of maps and aerial photographs and coordination of all attached and supporting units.
16 November 1944 - D+164
The enemy fiercely resisted our advance by employing well located machine guns, small arms, and concentrated barrages of 80 and 120 mm mortars. Several log pillboxes with excellent fields of fire were encountered. The advances to each enemy position were well supplied with mines, both anti-vehicular and antipersonnel. In addition, barbed wire, sometimes consisting of three row concertina, made any attempt to take the positions almost futile. 28 enemy artillery shellings were reported.
The 4th Infantry Division launched a coordinated attack to the northeast beginning at 1245 in the direction of Düren with three regimental combat teams abreast and prior to 1800, had succeeded in advancing through heavily wooded terrain approximately 1500 meters.
The 8th Infantry began movement at 0830 with the 2nd Battalion. The 1st Battalion moved forward to occupy the positions previously occupied by the 2nd Battalion at 0830 and closed at 1050. The attack was preceded by an aerial bombardment at 1115 and H-Hour was set for 1245. The 2nd Battalion jumped off following the artillery preparation and under heavy mortar fire, advanced slowly, Companies F and G abreast, until they reached a band of triple concertina wire covered by small arms and mortar fires. Due to the failure of the Bangalore torpedoes to function, the battalion was ordered to prepare its defense for the night. At 1355 the 1st Battalion received orders to move two companies forward to a hill previously occupied by two assault companies of the 2nd Battalion. This attack was initiated at 1540 but had to be terminated by 1625 and coordination effected for the night.
The 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, left its assembly area at 1145 and together with the 3rd Battalion attacked one hour later. Small arms, mortar, machine gun and artillery fires were received immediately and the advances of both battalions were impeded by extensive mine fields. Heavy opposition continued throughout the day. Only the 2nd Battalion successfully negotiated the mine field confronting it and continued its advance to within 400 yards of its objective.
The 22nd Infantry attacked at 1245 and the main opposition encountered was in the form of heavy mortar concentration and prior to the end of the day, considerable gains had been made over rough terrain.
17 November 1944 - D+165
The primary problem was the requisition and delivery of replacements to the regiments. The fighting was so intense and deadly that daily requisitions were necessary. The replacement system could not supply an adequate number of new men and the result was that the strength of all three regiments decreased steadily until at the end of the month the three regiments were very low in fighting strength. Both battle and non-battle casualties were extremely high. The thick woods, the continuous rain, plus the fact that the majority of replacements were not furnished with overshoes, caused a great number of cases of trench foot. Battle casualties were high due to the great number of mines and booby traps, and to the tree bursts from German artillery and mortar fire. No one was spared. The infantry Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division will always remember the hell of the Hurtgen Forest.
The highest percentage of casualties suffered was among the leaders. A good Soldier might start an attack as a rifleman and by the time the objective was taken find himself acting squad leader. In order to control and employ his squad he must move about among his men and the result was that he became a casualty himself in a short time. At this rate of attrition, the capable men in some companies were soon gone. This critical situation was alleviated to some extent by a small shipment of squad leaders, platoon sergeants and 1st sergeants.
The enemy employed a well dug in position which covered the approaches through the woods along the firebreak and the few poor roads. Thickly concentrated barbed wire and mines were noted. The enemy probed our lines with patrols and in at least three instances counterattacks were received by our forces, the largest consisting of a force of 80 men.
The 8th Infantry attacked in a column of battalions at 0800 with the 2nd Battalion in the assault. Due to the heavy mortar fires received at H-Hour, and the heavy casualties suffered in the previous day's operations, this battalion was unable to advance beyond the concertina wire previously mentioned. An attack of the 1st Battalion was ordered but never initiated. Before the troops could begin passing through the gap, the enemy launched a counterattack. This attack was repulsed and fifteen prisoners taken. The 1st Battalion was ordered to consolidate on its old position for the night.
The 12th Infantry attacked with the 2nd Battalion at 0840 and shortly encountered machine gun fire covering the mine fields. Work was continued under fire with an effort to clear the mines and booby traps while numerous patrols sought alternative routes. No gains were in evidence at the end of the day.
The 22nd Infantry was subjected during the early hours of the morning to extremely heavy artillery concentrations, casualties included the 1st and 3rd Battalion commanders. This resulted in a delay but the attack was initiated at 0945 against heavy mortar, machine gun and small arms fire. Two light tanks were knocked out by mines and those remaining were unable to proceed because of the denseness of the woods. However, by 1300 the 3rd Battalion had advanced and formed a defensive flank to the north. At this time, the 1st and 2nd Battalions were again ordered to attack. The virtually impassable terrain and the enemy infiltration in the rear of the 2nd Battalion hampered the advance and after reaching dominating position on the main north-south road, the advance was halted and positions consolidated for the night. By the end of the day, all three battalion commanders had been killed or wounded, one killed and two wounded.
18 November 1944 - D+166
The same well prepared positions, protected by mines and wire entanglements, were utilized by the enemy in its slow withdrawal in front of our forces. In each case, the withdrawal was protected by heavy mortars and artillery preparations which enabled the enemy to abandon one position and then fall back to another previously prepared. A total of 35 shellings were reported, mostly with 105 mm.
The 4th Infantry Division continued its attack to the east and northeast.
The 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry crossed its line of departure at 0915 with Company C supported by one platoon of medium tanks. The tanks led the way, ran down the concertina wire, destroying anti-personnel mines and the attacking troops followed in the tanks' tracks, without casualties, to the main road. Being unable to continue across the road due to steep banks, the tanks were brought under enemy fire. The attacking infantry, however, continued its attack under cover of tank fire until they were ordered to consolidate positions for the night. During this time, the 2nd Battalion continued its reorganization without advancing and the 3rd Battalion staged two companies forward to high ground.
The 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, moved out at 0830 and passed through the line held by elements of the 1st Battalion at 1051. The advance was continued slowly by company G for another hour and, without contact with the enemy, difficulties were experienced in negotiating the many mine fields encountered. These mine fields consisted mostly of teller and box mines in the roadways, S and Schu mines in the wooded areas. Companies E and F encountered small arms and machine gun fire shortly after 1600 and were unable to bring up tank support because of the nature of the terrain. At 1607, they were stopped by the hostile fires. Positions were consolidated at this time, the biggest advance having been made by Company G.
The 22nd Infantry attacked at 0830 with the 1st and 2nd Battalion abreast, across the main north-south road toward the high ground. The 2nd Battalion immediately encountered heavy machine gun and small arms fire and was held up. The 1st Battalion advanced slowly against heavy mortar and artillery fire but at 1013, Companies A and C were astride the road where the artillery and small arms fire was becoming intense. As the situation developed, the 3rd Battalion moved to protect the flank and to maintain contact between the attacking battalions. By 1345, the 1st Battalion had progressed 500 yards beyond the roadway and had secured its objective. The 2nd Battalion resumed its attack at 1430 and within an hour and a half, had pressed forward some 500 yards. By 1650, it was upon its objective.
Serious difficulties of supply and evacuation greatly handicapped the advance. The few roads were in poor shape (weather conditions) and were heavily mined as well as almost constantly interdicted with artillery, with as a result, the loss of important armored support.
19 November 1944 - D+167
The enemy fought from well fortified and well protected dug in emplacements, wooden bunkers and pillboxes in an attempt to frustrate our advance. Several small counterattacks were launched against CT 22. Although well planned and supported by strong artillery, they did not penetrate our lines.
The 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, was unable to advance because of heavy enemy small arms, mortar and tank fire. The 3rd Battalion began movement at 0930 in the trace of the 1st Battalion. Companies K and L turned to the south and seized a limited objective.
The 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, initiated an attack at 0845. Continuous mortar fire was heavy and accurate enough to make mine removal and work on the necessary stream crossings a slow and tedious process for both the infantry and the supporting engineers. Interlocking bands of heavy machine gun fire covered the continuous mine fields installed in every firebreak. Numerous efforts were made but little gains were reported.
The 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, was not re-supplied which necessitated postponement of the operation planned for this date. Hand carrying parties were organized and throughout the day, continuous progress was made in clearing forward routes. Positions were consolidated and patrols operated with occurrence of several skirmishes.
In WWII, there were four 4ID Soldiers who were awarded the Medal of Honor. Three of those were earned in the Hurtgen Forest (other one was to BG Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. for his actions on D-Day). The first one was earned on 17 Nov 44 by LT Bernard Ray - here is the citation for his award:
LEONARD, TURNEY W.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Co. C, 893d Tank Destr.Bn.
Place and date: Kommerscheidt, Germany, 6 November 1944.
Entered service at: Dallas, Texas
Born: June 19, 1921 at Dallas, Texas
G.O. No.: 74, 1 September 1945.
|Citation: He displayed extraordinary heroism while commanding a platoon of mobile weapons at Kommerscheidt, Germany, on 4, 5, and 6 November 1944. During the fierce 3-day engagement, he repeatedly braved overwhelming enemy fire in advance of his platoon to direct the fire of his tank destroyer from exposed, dismounted positions. He went on lone reconnaissance missions to discover what opposition his men faced, and on 1 occasion, when fired upon by a hostile machinegun, advanced alone and eliminated the enemy emplacement with a hand grenade. When a strong German attack threatened to overrun friendly positions, he moved through withering artillery, mortar, and small arms fire, reorganized confused infantry units whose leaders had become casualties, and exhorted them to hold firm. Although wounded early in battle, he continued to direct fire from his advanced position until he was disabled by a high-explosive shell which shattered his arm, forcing him to withdraw. He was last seen at a medical aid station which was subsequently captured by the enemy. By his superb courage, inspiring leadership, and indomitable fighting spirit, 1st Lt. Leonard enabled our forces to hold off the enemy attack and was personally responsible for the direction of fire which destroyed 6 German tanks.|
20 November 1944 - D+168
The enemy continued its determined resistance from well camouflaged and thoroughly dug in positions. Antitank and antipersonnel mine fields as well as thick wire entanglements were encountered throughout the 4th Infantry Division's zone of advance.
The 8th Infantry attacked with the 2nd and 3rd Battalions at 1000. The 1st Battalion attack was again impeded by heavy artillery, mortar and flat trajectory tank fire. The 1st Battalion covered 250 yards before heavy fires stopped it. Due to an anti-personnel mine field, the 2nd Battalion was forced to maneuver to the north and its advance was slow until it received the order to consolidate for the night. Heavy artillery and mortar fire prevented the 3rd Battalion from continuing to the south to establish contact with the 22nd Infantry.
Elements of the attacking 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, were able to advance 100 yards but by 1250, were forced back by extremely heavy and accurate fire. By 1300, elements of the 3rd Battalion lost what little ground they had stubbornly fought for and were forced back. The only gain secured was the one of Company E (450 yards) and it can be attributed in part to the availability of three tanks.
Front line elements of the 22nd Infantry were subjected to heavy concentrations of both 120 mm mortars and 150 mm artillery fire during the night. The 2nd Battalion attacked at 0850 to take a limited objective approximately 600 yards astride the main road of Grosshau. Heavy opposition was encountered immediately and it was subsequently discovered that the enemy had launched an attack at the same time. The battalion forced its way forward slowly and at 1000 had company G on its objective. At 1050, a counterattack of an enemy force which included six tanks or self-propelled guns was repulsed with the reinforcement of Company L. The 1st Battalion, delayed, attacked at 0920 and progressed rapidly (300 yards) and by 1017, it had completed its mission. Roads were immediately blocked with mines and bazooka teams. A counterattack was launched by the enemy at 1037 but the 1st Battalion had completed consolidating and the enemy was allowed to come within very close range before being repulsed with heavy casualties. By 1420, the 1st and 2nd Battalions were firmly established upon their objective but heavy artillery and mortar fire continued upon them. The essential bridge had been completely demolished and the almost constant shelling made engineer work extremely difficult.
The second Medal of Honor earned in the Hurtgen Forest was earned on 11-20-44:
MABRY, GEORGE L., JR.
Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, 2d Bn, 8th Inf., 4th Inf.Div.
Place and date: Hurtgen Forest near Schevenhutte, Germany, 20 Nov. 1944.
Entered service at: Sumter, South Carolina
Born: 14 September 1917 at Stateburg, Sumter County, South Carolina
G.O. No.: 77, September 1945.
|Citation: He was commanding the 2d Battalion, 8th Infantry, in an attack through the Hurtgen Forest near Schevenhutte, Germany, on 20 November 1944. During the early phases of the assault, the leading elements of his battalion were halted by a minefield and immobilized by heavy hostile fire. Advancing alone into the mined area, Col. Mabry established a safe route of passage. He then moved ahead of the foremost scouts, personally leading the attack, until confronted by a boobytrapped double concertina obstacle. With the assistance of the scouts, he disconnected the explosives and cut a path through the wire. Upon moving through the opening, he observed 3 enemy in foxholes whom he captured at bayonet point. Driving steadily forward he paced the assault against 3 log bunkers which housed mutually supported automatic weapons. Racing up a slope ahead of his men, he found the initial bunker deserted, then pushed on to the second where he was suddenly confronted by 9 onrushing enemy. Using the butt of his rifle, he felled 1 adversary and bayoneted a second, before his scouts came to his aid and assisted him in overcoming the others in hand-to-hand combat. Accompanied by the riflemen, he charged the third bunker under pointblank small arms fire and led the way into the fortification from which he prodded 6 enemy at bayonet point. Following the consolidation of this area, he led his battalion across 300 yards of fire-swept terrain to seize elevated ground upon which he established a defensive position which menaced the enemy on both flanks, and provided his regiment a firm foothold on the approach to the Cologne Plain. Col. Mabry's superlative courage, daring, and leadership in an operation of major importance exemplify the finest characteristics of the military service.|
21 November 1944 - D+169
Other than one counterattack of company size against CT 8, the enemy was satisfied to defend its line by sending forth patrols and shelling our front line elements. Either tanks or self-propelled guns were active against CT 8.
The 1st and 2nd Battalions, 8th Infantry, continued to maintain their positions while the 3rd Battalion moved out at 0830 on its mission to destroy all enemy forces east and west of the road. The terrain cleared of the enemy during the day was outposted by elements of the 24th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron.
The 121st Infantry Regiment of the 8th Infantry Division moved out at 0900 to attack through and relieve elements of the 12th Infantry. The relief of the 1st and 3rd Battalions was completed by 1500 and the 2nd Battalion by 1700, but the withdrawal of the 12th Infantry was not initiated.
Because of the supply and evacuation difficulties and the necessity of cleaning out by-passed enemy pockets, the day of the 22nd Infantry was utilized in consolidating positions and opening a motor route. The engineers worked continuously under fire and the heavy rains hindered their work by decreasing the efficiency of their mine detectors. At 1155, the critical bridge and main supply road were finally cleared; at 1555 Company I supported by tanks and tank destroyers moved to the north and established contact by 1655 with elements of the 8th Infantry Regiment.
22 November 1944 - D+170
The enemy continued to resist fiercely and to fall back slowly from one line of fortified positions to the next. Enemy armor of a defensive nature, i.e. dug in with a prepared field of fire, was encountered.
The attack of the 8th Infantry was delayed in an effort to bring up the supporting armor, this failing, the attack was initiated at 0930 by the 1st Battalion. Supporting fires were furnished by the 2nd Battalion. The 1st Battalion fought its way stubbornly forward against strong resistance and succeeded in reaching the edge of its objective, Jagerhaus. At 1120, the 3rd Battalion started moving along the axis of advance of the 1st Battalion, then worked back to the southeast, effecting a partial encirclement of the enemy and resulting in the annihilation and capture of large numbers. The area to the southeast was then considered clear.
The 12th Infantry moved to assembly areas to the north of the new division right (south) boundary. It closed there by 1215 as division reserve.
The 22nd Infantry had as its objective the road junction just short of Grosshau. The 1st Battalion feinted several false attacks after 0800 and, it seemed, accomplished its mission of detracting the enemy from the attack of the 3rd Battalion further to the north. The 3rd Battalion moved shortly after daylight. Enemy mortar, artillery and small arms fire were encountered but the advance continued and several machine gun positions were overrun. By 1335, the attack had carried to a point from which the road junction was under direct fire. The battalion consolidated its positions to cut the roads. Direct artillery fire was received from the western edge of Grosshau which was within sight. A small enemy attack was repulsed by the 2nd Battalion at 0905. At 0950 the 2nd Battalion attacked to the east and immediately encountered stubborn resistance, including fire from two dug in self-propelled guns. Slow progress was made and despite numerous casualties, the battalion continued to advance until the left flank was approximately 500 yards to the southwest of the 1st Battalion. There positions were consolidated.
23 November 1944 - D+171
The enemy continued to stubbornly resist our advance by combining its numerous mine fields, wire entanglements, and road blocks with effective fires. Once our advance showed signs of slowing down, the enemy counterattacked viciously with approximately reinforced platoon strength. At least four such counterattacks were repulsed.
The 4th Infantry Division continued the attack to the northeast in the direction of Duren and despite strong resistance of small arms, machine guns, artillery, mortars, mines, booby traps and well defended bunkers, secured important terrain.
The 8th Infantry attacked at 0840 with the 2nd Battalion. After the capture of a number of unarmed prisoners, it was able to move toward its objective. Again supply problems delayed the attack and the 3rd Battalion was unable to move before 0900. A slow advance was continued and good progress was made. Due to extremely heavy enemy fire, the 1st Battalion was unable to move forward throughout the day.
The 12th Infantry moved its 1st Battalion to a forward assembly area starting at 0945. At 1045, the 2nd Battalion initiated an attack to the east. A mine field was encountered at 1118 but the battalion crossed the main north-south road at 1351. In the late afternoon, the battalion was stopped short of its objective by additional mines and enemy resistance, and positions were consolidated for the night.
The orders provided to the 22nd Infantry were to consolidate positions, to clear the rear areas and routes forward, and to secure four key trail and road junctions. A small task force organized by the 1st Battalion moved eastward at 0850 to clear the road and it was completed by 1350 under artillery and mortar fire. Enemy pressure on the northern flank of the 3rd Battalion increased during the morning but no ground was gained by the Germans. Enemy mortar and artillery fire continued to pound the battalion area. By 1145, the 2nd Battalion had readjusted its lines and controlled by fire the trail junction. Very heavy enemy artillery fire was received in the battalion sector.
24 November 1944 - D+172
After using the hours of darkness for the purpose of laying more mines, constructing blocks and digging defenses, the enemy defended its new position until forced slowly to fall back to each successively prepared line of defenses. It was also evident that under the cover of darkness, the enemy was bringing up replacements, probably consisting of remnants of units almost totally wiped out, which would serve to absorb the smash of our first attack during the day.
CT 12 on the right and CT 8 on the left advanced slowly throughout the day against a stubborn enemy in heavily wooded terrain made more adverse due to the ever consistent intermittent rain.
The 8th Infantry was ordered to continue the attack in the direction of Duren by 0830. Company B, 1st Battalion, was unable to continue forward movement until 1000 due to heavy artillery and mortar fire, as well as extremely heavy small arms fire from a well dug in enemy. But after 1000, Companies B and C, 1st Battalion, reached the objective and were relieved by the 3rd Battalion. The 2nd Battalion advanced slowly meeting extremely heavy machine gun and small arms fire as well as artillery and mortar fire. At the end of the day, it had captured considerable enemy personnel, weapons and equipment and by 1800 was ordered to continue its attack on the following day.
The 12th Infantry continued the attack at 0900 with the 3rd Battalion passing through the 1st Battalion. It advanced rapidly and by 1102 was moving onto its objective. The 2nd Battalion reached its objective at 1030 and by 1215 was firmly established. By 1400, it had gained contact with the 121st Infantry (8th Infantry Division). The 1st Battalion mopped enemy groups in the rear areas and established contact with the 24th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron.
The 22nd Infantry received heavy artillery fire, including direct fire, on forward units. The day was used to regroup, adjust and consolidate. Patrols moved and engineers with infantry support rushed to open all roads and trails.
25 November 1944 - D+173
Against CT 8 and CT 22, the enemy's resistance was stubborn and effective. Small arms, mortars and artillery were utilized to maximum advantage. A number of self-propelled assault guns were employed with good results against CT 22. The enemy was overrun by CT 12 in its zone of advance. The resulting confusion and ineffectiveness on the part of the Germans made it apparent that once the main line of resistance could be reached and rapidly crossed, lack of leadership, poor contact and incompetent troops made the enemy a "pushover". Companies and platoons that knew their flanks had been enveloped failed to withdraw before they were cut off.
The intermittent rain rendered the few roads and trails a mass of mud which did much to hinder the advance. It was almost impossible for the tanks and tank destroyers to keep up with the advancing infantry.
The 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry, attacked at 1130 to the southeast. At 1330, it repulsed a small counterattack by 40 to 50 enemy infantry, continued the advance and by 1410, had succeeded in capturing its objective. The 3rd Battalion strengthened its previous positions and patrolled.
The 12th Infantry attacked at 0800 and made good progress through the difficult wooded, hilly terrain against light resistance of disorganized enemy. It succeeded in seizing its objective and from that position was able to assist by fire the attack of the 5th Armored Division on Hurtgen. The three battalions then mopped up small pockets of by-passed enemy.
The plan of the 22nd Infantry was to attack with 2nd and 3rd Battalions, without artillery preparation in hope of surprising the enemy. The 3rd Battalion was to envelope Grosshau to the north, and the 2nd to reach the edge of the woods at the southwest. The 2nd Battalion, delayed by the attached armor unable to negotiate the poor roads, attacked at 0820 and the 3rd Battalion at 0745. Both battalions encountered heavy resistance immediately. The advance of the 2nd Battalion was bitterly contested but by 1030 they were on their objective, the edge of the woods overlooking Grosshau. By 0845, the 3rd Battalion onto the high ground paused for reorganization (and moving of the armor) before assaulting the town of Grosshau. At 1145, it attacked across the open field leading to the town. The enemy reacted immediately by placing very heavy fire and stopped the attack, destroying four tanks and two tank destroyers. Further attempts were repulsed and by 1500, the battalion dug in north after suffering heavy casualties. The 1st Battalion, in reserve, moved out at 1300 and dug in at the road junction west of Grosshau.
26 November 1944 - D+174
The enemy centered its defensive around well dug in tanks and assault guns. Utilizing the fire power of those weapons and supplementing this with small arms, mortar and artillery, the enemy presented a formidable defense.
The 4th Infantry Division maintained its previous positions throughout the day. The period was used to straighten the lines, clear the rear areas and secure favorable terrain in preparation for the impending attack in conjunction with the 8th Infantry Division and the 5th Armored Division to take Kleinhau.
The 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, moved forward at 1300 to relieve the 2nd Battalion, that was completed at 1445.
The 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry, had to attack at 0800 in order to straighten the main line and establish contact between all elements. The advance was made under extremely adverse conditions, heavy woods, steep slopes and icy streams and great distances to carry supplies by hand, but the Battalion reached its objective by 1630 and began consolidation to assist by fire the 8th Infantry Division. The battalion took numerous prisoners.
No major attack was made by the 22nd Infantry. Grosshau was pounded by 81 mm mortar high explosive shells as well as by our artillery fire. Company C, 1st Battalion, attacked to clear the woods just west of Grosshau and stubborn resistance was encountered. By late afternoon, it had reached its objective but just before dusk an enemy counterattack with 75-100 men and four tanks hit Company C. The attack was determined and was preceded by an heavy artillery and mortar barrage. The Company was driven back to its positions of the night before and sustained heavy casualties. A patrol of the 3rd Battalion moved out after dark to investigate Grosshau. The first attempt was hit by heavy concentrations of mortar but on the second attempt, they reached the outskirts where they remained in observation and listening.
27 November 1944 - D+175
The enemy continued to build its defense around assault guns and tanks well dug in. Its fields of fire for these weapons were improved and all the approaches were found to be thoroughly mined, booby trapped and protected by wire blocks. Considerable movement on the road between Kleinhau and Grosshau was carried on behind smoke screens. A counterattacking force composed of the 3d Parachute Division might be expected against our forces.
The 8th Infantry maintained captured positions and patrolled aggressively to clear rear areas and flanks, and to seek information on enemy lines.
The 2nd Battalion of the 12th Infantry were passed by units of the 8th Infantry Division and so the battalion moved to a new assembly area from 0900 to 1500. The 3rd Battalion continued to mop up areas and directed fire on the town of Kleinhau.
Company B, 22nd Infantry, attacked at 0900 to retake the ground west of Grosshau and the enemy resisted bitterly. By late morning, the attack had come to a standstill and Company E was ordered to aid the attack. By 1440, companies B and E were on the edge of the town and the position was organized. At 1800, led by antitank guns, supporting weapons, tanks and tank destroyers reached this forward area. After dark, a patrol moved into Grosshau but encountered enemy small arms fire and was driven back. The town of Grosshau proved to be heavily defended.
And it was on November 27, 1944 that Macario Garcia of Company B, 22nd Infantry Regiment earned the fourth and final Medal of Honor that was awarded to 4ID Soldiers in WWII:
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Co. B, 22d Inf., 4th Inf.Div.
Place and date: Near Grosshau, Germany, 27 November 1944.
Entered service at: Sugarland, Texas
Born: 20 January 1920 at Villa de Castano, Mexico.
G.O. No.: 74, 1 September 1945.
|Citation: While an acting squad leader of Company B, 22d Infantry, on 27 November 1944, near Grosshau, Germany, he single-handedly assaulted 2 enemy machinegun emplacements. Attacking prepared positions on a wooded hill, which could be approached only through meager cover, his company was pinned down by intense machinegun fire and subjected to a concentrated artillery and mortar barrage. Although painfully wounded, he refused to be evacuated and on his own initiative crawled forward alone until he reached a position near an enemy emplacement. Hurling grenades, he boldly assaulted the position, destroyed the gun, and with his rifle killed 3 of the enemy who attempted to escape. When he rejoined his company, a second machinegun opened fire and again the intrepid soldier went forward, utterly disregarding his own safety. He stormed the position and destroyed the gun, killed 3 more Germans, and captured 4 prisoners. He fought on with his unit until the objective was taken and only then did he permit himself to be removed for medical care. S/Sgt. (then private) Garcia's conspicuous heroism, his inspiring, courageous conduct, and his complete disregard for his personal safety wiped out 2 enemy emplacements and enabled his company to advance and secure its objective.|
28 November 1944 - D+176
The 8th Infantry improved its previous positions and conducted vigorous patrolling to the northeast and south to seek information. Cleaning of the area was continuous.
The 12th had to fill the large gap existing between the 8th and 22nd Regiments. The 1st Battalion attacked at 0910, with the 2nd Battalion in support, and became engaged immediately in a fire fight. This resistance was eliminated by the aggressive action of the battalion that advanced north along the road. No resistance was encountered until late in the afternoon when a strong point was engaged. The 1st Battalion held up there for the night. The 3rd Battalion continued to support by fire the attack of the 22nd Infantry and the 5th Armored Division.
The 22nd Infantry sent a small task force of the 3rd Battalion to seize the high ground to the east. By 1350, the task force composed of two platoons reached the objective and cleaned out small scattered pockets of enemy. Any movement in the 1st Battalion sector was followed by a mortar barrage. Plans were made to seize the high ground northeast of Grosshau. The enemy resistance in the Grosshau area continued to be extremely heavy.
29 November 1944 - D+177
The enemy continued its defense of advantageous ground and earthen emplacements by employing small arms and direct firing assault guns set up on high ground. In addition, considerable mortar fire and artillery impeded the advance of our troops. Plus the usual mines, booby traps and wire entanglements on the most opportune avenues of approach.
After the relief of the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, at 0830 by the 24th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, the 1st and 2nd Battalion attacked at 1000 through the lines held by the 3rd Battalion. The 1st Battalion met heavy small arms and machine gun fires shortly after beginning its advance. It withdrew for the purpose of heavily shelling the enemy positions confronting it and after, the advance was resumed. The 2nd Battalion in the face of small arms, machine gun, artillery and mortar continued its slow but steady advance. Resistance became more determined at all points at the end of daylight.
The 12th Infantry attacked at 0830 and met no resistance. The objective was reached by 0950. Combat patrols were sent to the east and the south. The 3rd Battalion moved to an assembly area.
During the night, the 22nd Infantry was submitted to moderate enemy artillery and mortar harassing fire. A night patrol from the 3rd Battalion penetrated the enemy outpost line. Ordered to attack at 1100, the 3rd Battalion was delayed by heavy enemy artillery fire and moved out at 1200. The battalion pushed to the northeast against heavy fire and determined resistance. At 1830, the battalion had reached its objective, Hill 92 northeast of Grosshau, and it was secured by 2050. The 1st Battalion followed and by 1445 occupied the original positions of the 3rd Battalion, prepared to assist in the capture of Grosshau. The 2nd Battalion attacked at 1250 to take Grosshau. The attacking force consisted of Companies E and F with armored support. Immediately upon jumping off, Company F received a counterattack which it repulsed. Company E advanced slowly under heavy German machine gun fire. Fighting was intense and Company E had advanced only 75 yards beyond the first house in town by 1635. At dusk, the battalion was ordered to continue the attack. By 1843 three houses remained in enemy hands. Resistance in the houses and cellars finally ended at 1915.
30 November 1944 - D+178
In the northern sector, our forces advanced against fox holes and bunkers constructed and reinforced with logs and earth. In the center, a more hastily constructed type of emplacement was defended by the enemy. In the southern sector, the enemy defense was based on strategically located assault guns and considerable mortar and artillery fire. As always, avenues of approach were heavily mined and obstructed with wire and fallen trees.
The 4th Infantry Division continued the coordinated attack to the east and northeast.
The 8th Infantry attacked with the 1st Battalion at 0845 and the 2nd Battalion at 0900. The enemy resistance was heavy throughout the day. The enemy used many automatic weapons firing along the mined and booby trapped firebreaks and trails in the eastern edge of the Hurtgen Forest. Heavy mortar and artillery fire was also encountered. A small counterattack was repulsed by the 1st Battalion and by 1200 both battalions succeeded in capturing the positions occupied by the enemy during the night. At 0930 the 3rd Battalion moved forward and became involved in a fire fight. After several attempts to overcome it, the battalion was ordered to consolidate their positions for the night.
The 12th Infantry attacked with the 2nd Battalion at 0800 and the 1st Battalion at 0830. Initially the advance was slow due to the constant danger of mines and booby traps. At 1030, the 2nd Battalion encountered an extensive deceptive mine field and the 1st Battalion became involved in a fire fight with an enemy strong point. By the end of the day, the two battalions had succeeded in capturing the high ground overlooking the town of Gey
Heavy enemy mortar and artillery concentrations fell in the 22nd sector during the night. After an artillery preparation, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions attacked at approximately 1130. The 3rd Battalion moved against relatively light resistance until 1500 when it was 300 yards short of its objective. The opposition stiffened and in accordance with orders, the 3rd Battalion secured for the night at 1630. The 2nd Battalion, attacking east from Grosshau, encountered machine gun fire and increasing mortar and artillery fire. At 1335 the battalion was 300 yards beyond its line of departure and moving slowly. Even with the arrival of an armored support unit, the 2nd Battalion was unable to continue and dug in for the night shortly after 1630. The enemy fire on the forward positions (200 yards west of the woods) was intense.
Notes about logistics :
Extreme difficulties were encountered in the delivery of rations, water and ammunition and in the recovery of vehicles, weapons and other equipment (considerable combat losses) because of the mass of trees and branches brought down by mortar and artillery fire, plus all the mines and traps.
With the troops continuously exposed to rain and mud, trench foot broke out and evacuation of these cases was heavy. Issue of overshoes and additional socks was expedited and reduced appreciably the trench foot cases.
November 1944 Casualties :
Total casualties for 4ID from 6 June 1944 to 30 Nov 1944:
Killed or died of injuries: 219 Officers and 2,595 Enlisted Men
A total of 20,448 prisoners have been taken since D-Day.