UNIT REPORT N0. 5
From: 010001 Nov 1944.
To : 302400 Nov 1944.
Hq., 28th Inf. Div.,
- Units in contact: (See "c" below).
- Enemy reserves that could effect our positions:
An estimated 40-50 enemy tanks were reported on the Corps front as late as 23 November. The 21 Pz. Div., located in the St. Die area for a considerable time, has never been heavily engaged and is believed to be intact. It recently absorbed a Pz Brigade giving it an estimated strength of 7,000 men with 65 tanks. The 26th Rcn. Bn. (- 3 Tr) at P9657 and the 26th Engr. Bn. at P9260 were both reported as being in reserve at the termination of the period.
- Description of enemy activity:
On 1 Nov enemy was holding positions in GERMETER area with forces of both 275th Inf. Div. and 89th Inf. Div. Artillery of 275 Div was the redesignated 353 Arty Regt formed into 3 bns with a total of 24-105mm Gun Hows, 6-122mm Hows (Russian), and 4-210mm Hows. One battalion, 12-122mm Hows, of 189 Arty Regt. was emplaced to our south. At this time, 275 Div. was incorporating a number of heretofore separate battalions into Regts and into the Division. 29th Div. was being relieved by elements of newly formed 272 Volksgrenadier Div. On 2 Nov, CT WEGELEIN in position northeast of GERMETER was about to be relieved when we attacked. Other elements of 275 Div were not well organized and confusion locally resulted. Except for CT WEGELEIN (not te become a part of 275), resistance was light and a degree of surprise was obtained. On the south, however, determined resistance was offered, where the newly redesignated troops of 983 Inf. Regt./275 Div. remained in their concrete shelters and field fortifications located behind wire and mine barriers. By morning 3 Nov, a composite 253 Engr. Bn. comprised of 275 Engr., 73 Engr., and 253 Engr. — the latter moved north from GEMUND — had been assembled and counterattacked from area west of GERMETER - HURTGEN road. This attack was disorganized before it developed by both our and enemy artillery. Enemy losses were heavy. Meanwhile, resistance on south was maintained; and, although, resistance by the remainder of 275 Div. at KOMMERSGHEIDT and SCHMIDT was very light, the relieved elements of 89 Div were being reassembled near HARSCHEIDT to counterattack. Furthermore, the enemy, realizing that both HURTGEN and SCHMIDT were threatened, alerted his 116th Pz. Div. resting in vicinity of MUENCHEN-GLADBACH for employment to restore the line, and movement southward of this division began. Artillery emplaced north of OBERMAUBACH was directed against GERMETER and HURTGEN. A battalion of assault guns was moved onto BRANDENBERG-BERGSTEIN ridge and the pounding of VOSSENACK began late in the day. During night 3-4 Nov, both 60th and XXXXXX Gren Regts/116 Pz. Div. were moved south by vehicle and were committed to counterattack VOSSENACK from north and east during 4 Nov. These attacks were only partially successful due to our intense defensive fires, and the enemy had to withdraw before evening. This same morning the reassembled forces of 1055 and 1056 Inf. Regts/89 Inf. Div., supported by assault guns and tanks counterattacked SCHMIDT, regaining the town by early afternoon. During 4 Nov, 116 Pz Regt arrived in the area along with the remnants of another tank brigade, providing a force of approximately 80 Mk Iv, V and VI tanks and an assault gun brigade counting 18-24 guns. Leading elements of this force supported the attack against SCHMIDT, but suffered losses due to our air support. Resistance northeast of SIMONSKALL was overcome during 4 Nov. During day and night of 4-5 Nov, remainder of 116 Pz. Div., including 146 Arty Regt., moved south to take up positions in the KLEINHAU-BERGSTEIN area; and, from then until 16 Nov, enemy artillery bombardment of the HURTGEN-V0SSENACK-SIMONSKALL area was intense, constant, and of mixed calibers. Build up of artillery and similar weapons brought the total to 12-20mm AA guns, 9-37mm AA Guns, 28-88mm AA/AT guns, 48-105mm Gun-Hows, 8-105mm Guns, 18-122mm Hows (Russian), and 8-210mm Hows. 170mm gun fire was reported but number of guns has not been determined. Several times during the period 3-6 Nov, lone and small flights of enemy planes dropped AP bombs and strafed our positions.
Beginning shortly after daylight 5 Nov, tanks and infantry began to reduce our positions in the area between SCHMIDT and KOMMERSCHEIDT; and by early afternoon, succeeded in getting tanks into the latter town, but immediately withdrew them under our artillery fire. In vicinity of SIMONSKALL, enemy forces gave ground, but continued to offer stiff resistance from concrete forts near RAFFELSBRAND and west thereof. Several attempts to drive us out- of positions north of GERMETER were unsuccessful. Throughout 6 Nov, enemy forces concentrated their efforts toward dislodging us from positions held between SCHMIDT and K0MMERSCHEIDT and made repeated attempts to regain V0SSENACK. The main effort was made by tanks, in company strength of 6-7 accompanied by small groups of infantry from north of SCHMIDT and east of KOMMERSCHEIDT. Early in the morning infantry, supported by both tanks and artillery fire, attacked VOSSENACK from the east and enjoyed a temporary success. By late morning however, enemy gains had been restored although intense artillery fire continued. Several raids on the north flank, including the reinforcement of positions north of V0SSENACK in HURTGEN woods by 600th Engr. Bn., were unsuccessful and disorganized by our artillery fan infantry fire. Small groups of tanks and self-propelled guns in vicinity of HURTGEN were attacked by our fighter bombers. Enemy infantry resisted stubbornly from prepared positions in the SIMONSKALL area. By nightfall, the enemy efforts has spent themselves, except for continuous artillery and infiltration of an estimated 50 infantrymen into buildings in eastern portion of VOSSENACK. These troops harassed our patrols during the night, but were all cleared out shortly after daylight 7 Nov. During early morning 7 Nov, it is believed enemy moved tanks and infantry into attack positions due east of KOMMERSCHEIDT and other infantry into wooded area about 1 mile west of KOMMERSHEIDT. Starting to attack first from the east at 0520A and then from the west, enemy tanks and infantry stormed our position at KOMMERSCHEIDT. For five hours tanks fired at our positions, blowing up one foxhole after another until at 1015A the tanks were in the town. As the tanks progressed toward the town from the east, infantry XXXXXXX the wooded area to the west. During early afternoon, an attack designed to sever our supply route, through MESTRENGER MUHLE by 116 Pz. Rcn. Bn., was made and failed. Otherwise, enemy activity was confined to small raids on the north and continued stiff resistance to our attacks designed to outflank SIMONSKALL from the east. Enemy armor moved constantly during night 7-8 Nov and just before daylight 8 Nov attempted to move toward MESTRENGER MUHLE around the north nose of the KOMMERSCHEIDT ridge. This attempt and several infantry attacks during the day were foiled by our artillery, air attacks, and infantry. During the day, several movements of tanks and assault guns were observed and attacked by our fighter-bombers. In the morning, a company of 982 Inf. Regt./272 Volksgrenadier Division, replacing the hard-pressed 89th Div. units southeast of SIMONSKALL, attacked our force. This attack was successful only in that it halted our attack momentarily for the attackers soon had to withdraw to positions south and west of SIMONSKALL. By dark 8 Nov, remnants of 60th and 156th Pz. Gren. Regts/116th Pz. Div. were withdrawn to areas near KLEINHAU and enemy positions on north and south were consolidated. Tanks of 116 Pz. Div. were also withdrawn. Enemy action was entirely defensive 9 Nov as he continued consolidation of regained ground around KOMMERSCHEIDT and resisted our advance northwest from GERMETER. At 1100A on 10 Nov, a counterattack by a force of 100 enemy infantry men from 272 Div. recaptured a concrete fort near RAFFELSBRAND. At the same time another attack southwest of HURTGEN gained ground, but enemy losses were severe. VOSSENACK was not attacked, but continued to be subjected to intense artillery and mortar fire as the enemy fell back to the north in the woods between VOSSENACK and HURTGEN. During period 11-18 Nov, enemy forces continued to defend the line held 10 Nov, shifted organizations northward toward HURTGEN and KLEINHAU, and conducted aggressive patrolling. Artillery fire continued intense until 16 Nov when more urgent needs caused it to be reduced to light harassing fire.
On 19 Nov, our forces took over a new sector opposed by the 91st Inf. Div., the 26th Volksgrenadier Div, and 353rd Inf. Div. This force was spread very lightly along the OUR River. Enemy patrols were encountered infrequently. During period 21-23 Nov, 91st Div on our north was relieved by extending sector of the 26th Div. On the night of 25-26 Nov, 353rd Div. was relieved by what is now believed to be 352 Inf. Div. Up to end of period, only occasional registration and harassing artillery fire had been received. Enemy patrolling was very limited due to swollen OUR River.