47TH ARMORED INFANTRY BATTALION (5TH ARMD. DIV.)
HEADQUARTERS 47TH ARMORED INFANTRY BATTALION
|SUBJECT :||Action Against Enemy, Reports After.|
|TO :||Commanding General, 5th Armored Division
APO 255, US Army.
(1) Headquarters to which unit was assigned or attached, Reserve Command, 5th Armored Division.
(2) During the period of operations covered by this summary the Task Force 47th Armored Infantry Battalion, consisted of the following units unless otherwise stated: Company "B", 47th Armored Infantry Battalion, Company "B", 10th Tank Battalion, Headquarters Company, 47th Armored Infantry Battalion and Headquarters, 47th Armored Infantry Battalion. The Task Force was commanded throughout the period by Lt. Colonel HOWARD S. BOYER, Infantry, Commanding Officer of the 47th Armored Infantry Battalion.
On December 1st the task force was located at approximately (K0232) in the vicinity of the CP of the 13th Infantry Regiment. Vehicles were parked along the sides of the road in preparation for a move.
At 1700A on December 2nd the unit was alerted for a move and the Commanding Officer was called to Headquarters CCR. Preparations were made for departure a at 2230 the unit departed for new location in Germeter, Germany per Field Order #19, Hq CCR. All Companies closed in new location at 0055A, 3 December 1944. CP 47th Armored Infantry Battalion was located at 024332.
At 0800 A 3 December 1944 the unit was attached to the 28th Infantry Regiment of the 8th Infantry Division. At 1230A the Commanding Officer received instructions to report to 28th Infantry Regiment CP. Mission assigned for the day was to assist the 28th in cleaning out a pocket of resistance vicinity of 052332. Headquarters Company, 47th Armored Infantry Battalion was to fire smoke on two sides in the vicinity of Kommerscheidt (048307 and 055315) starting at 1400A.
It was decided to attack and clean out the rubble pile and fire trenches at the south-east and of Vossenack with one married platoon and two push over the hill south-east of Vossenack down to the woods line with two married platoons.
At 1400 A 3 December 1944, 20-30 enemy aircraft strafed the town of Germeter and nearby vicinity. One Me 109 shot down by the CP and pilot was taken prisoner.
At 1400 A the command jumped off in the attack. At 1522A the command received orders to send tanks NE of Vossenack to repel a counterattack in that area. Expected enemy counterattack turned out to be 25 enemy who came out of the woods, advanced a short way and returned in same direction.
By 1530 the platoon attacking the rubble pile had advanced had advanced to within 75 yards of the rubble when the lead tank hit a mine field and was disabled. The infantry attempted to move into the rubble pile but were driven back by heavy small arms fire and artillery fire. Platoon withdrew from the rubble pile and moved around and attempted to take the rubble pile from the North while the tanks supported by fire. Again they were forced back by small arms (automatic) fire and artillery and mortar fire. Enemy in fire trenches just south of the rubble were using flare signals to call for artillery and mortar. A green flare over the target was the signal used in this case.
During this period the two platoons moving around the rubble pile to push down to the woods S and E of Vossenack ran into a mine field and two tanks were disabled, artillery and mortar fire was intense and force was held up and later withdrawn. Mine fields were uncharted and extent unknown, to the 28th Infantry Regiment.
Instructions were received from CP of 28th. Infantry Regiment that we were to take the rubble pile that night. Another attempt was made unsuccessfully and casualties were high due to Anti Personnel mines, artillery and mortar and small arms fire.
Remaining troops were withdrawn to initial assembly area for re-supply and reorganizing and plans were made to take the objective on December 4. It was planned to attack the rubble at 0730 the morning of the 4th of Dec. with 4 tanks and eighteen infantryman riding the tanks. A "Scorpion" tank was ordered and information was received at 2310A that the tank was on the way to us.
At 0230 A 4 Dec. 44 the attack jumped off and by 1200 A the rubble pile and fire trenches were cleared. Two tanks were lost, one to artillery fire and the scorpion tank hit a mine. The scorpion tank had worked successfully until it hit a nest of five mines which exploded at once and blew the chains up in the air. While the chains were in the air the tank moved on to another mine and blew a track disabling the tank.
The second plan for the employment of the command on Dec 4 was to divide the eight remaining tanks into two groups. The remainder of B/47 was to ride on four tanks and the remnants of C/28 were to ride on the other four tanks. The two forces were to attack to the S and E from Vossenack and push down to the draw. The attack never jumped off in as much as C/28 could not be rallied and organized to load on the tanks.
At 1600 A 4 Dec. 44 word was received that Unit was relieved from attached to 28th Inf. Regt, and rejoined CCR. Relief was to be made by 709 Tank Bn. and was completed at 2400A. B CO's returned to assembly area in Germeter and were re-supplied and the co. reorganized. At 2000 A 4 Dec. 44, CO 47th was called to Hq. CCR. to receive orders for the following days operations.
The unit was alerted to move to vicinity of Brandenberg and attack on order in conjunction with 10th Tk Bn task force and seize and hold Bergstein, Germany. Attack was originally delayed on 5 Dec. until air support was available but later orders were changed to attack at 1400 A 5 Dec. whether air was available or not. The sky was overcast and ceiling low, it did not appear as though air would be available. The unit moved out at 1400 A to Brandenberg with the CP remaining in present location in Germeter. Observation on Bergstein was excellent from CP. location in Germeter.
Much enemy activity had been observed on the S and E end of Bergstein and in the woods to the S and E. Movement was fired on by our artillery. For this operation one platoon of Tank Destroyers from CT 628 was attached to the command.
By 1715 the command had secured their portion of the objective and were organizing defensive positions. Casualties were small in taking the town but immediately after taking the town enemy artillery became intense and casualties began to increase.
At 2250 A 5 Dec. the 47th established an advance CP in Brandenberg, at 064343. The command had at this time occupied defensive positions between 074334 077337 and 076333. Artillery was extremely intense in both Brandenberg and Bergstein. Situation was well in hand for the night 5-6 December 1944.
At 0630 A 6 December 1944, the enemy began shelling the town of Germeter. B Companies had reported much movement and activity in woods south and east of Bergstein during the night and a counterattack was expected at day break. At 0600 A the enemy counterattacked Bergstein from the woods to the south and east with approximately 500 Infantry (PW reports later stated 6 Companies) and 15 assault guns and tanks. The attack was being, made on the 47th sector and Company B, 47th Armd Inf Bn., was forced to withdraw giving up seven houses, where better positions were secured. By 0900 the counterattack was repulsed with extremely heavy losses to the enemy, an estimate of 200 killed, 60 captured and 6 SP guns and tanks knocked out. Our original positions were regained by Company B, 47th.
At 1120A 6 December 1944, the unit was alerted for a large formation of enemy aircraft. It turned out to be a false alarm. Enemy artillery in Bergstein and Brandenberg continued extremely intense and casualties in men and equipment were suffered. Help was requested to re-enforce our positions in the event of another counterattack. One platoon from Company C, 85th Rcn was attached to Company B, 47th and was sent forward to Bergstein to help reinforce our positions. The platoon finally got forward and was placed in position at approximately 1630 6 December 1944.
At 1630 6 December 1944 word was received that the 2nd Ranger Battalion was coming into Bergstein that evening to re-enforce our positions and also to seize the high hill east of Bergstein (Castle Hill).
Twenty five enlisted men who were returned to duty arrived at the rear CP. All men were sent forward to B 147 to help reinforce positions. Arrived in area at 2345 A 6 December 1944.
Rangers contacted out forward CP at 1000, 6 Dec and were given all available information on Bergstein. They moved into area night of 6-7 Dec and attacked and took Castle Hill on the morning of 7 December 1944.
At 0130 A 8 Dec. orders were received that unit was to withdraw from positions under cover of darkness that night to an assembly area in the vicinity of Walhorn. Unit was withdrawn to intermediate area vicinity of Kleinhau then back to Lontzen.
At 1245 8 Dec. 44 two TD's from 893rd TD Bn. under the command of 1st Lt. H. C. Davis 01825602, APO 230, moved into position near the CP in Germeter (K024332). One TD was moved into position, approximately 20 yards from the CP and another TD moved into a position approximately 60 yards SW of CP. Upon being notified of this CO 47th Armd. Inf. Bn. Lt. Col H. E. BOYER, Inf, detailed 1st Lt. Yewell M. Farmer to notify officer in charge that they were not to fire in that position as the effecting of our relief had caused quite a few personnel and vehicles of this command to be present in the area and firing in the area would undoubtedly draw enemy arty fire. Officer in charge of TD's notified Lt. Farmer that he was instructed by CO 28th Inf. Regt, 8th Infantry Div. Col. Raran, to fire in that area. Upon receiving this information Lt. Col BOYER notified Lt. Davis not to fire from those positions. Lt. Davis's TD's began firing at 1250 a from the positions they were occupying. At 1255 enemy artillery landed in the area in the vicinity of the CP, one shell hitting the edge of the building in which our CP was located, killing 1 EM from the 8th Inf. Div. and wounding 2 EM from B/l0th Tank Battalion and one EM from a 4, 2 chemical mortar outfit located in the area.
The unit departed for new area at 1330 and arrived in area in the vicinity of Lontzen, Belgium at 1620, 8 Dec. 44. At 1730 A 293 replacements for the Infantry were received at the CP. The formation in this new area was unmarried and Command consisted of, Hq. Co. Co. a, B, C, Co's of the 47th Armd. Inf .Bn. The 9th Dec. 1944 was spent in reorganizing and assigning new men and cleaning up personnel and equipment.
On 11 December 1944 at 1445 A Major Richard Wilkins, S-2 CCR talked to the entire group of replacements on the subject of security of military information. On 12 Dec. 44 a dental survey was conducted of all replacements and necessary work started. On Dec 13 a dental survey of all old men in the command was held. A firing range was secured and all old individual arms were re-zeroed.
At 100 Dec 14th Col Anderson CO CCR gave an orientation talk to all members of the command.
At 1230 A 14 December 1944 alert orders were received to be prepared to move by 1500 A. Remained on two hour alert status until 1415 A 16 December 44. At 1415 A 16 Dec. 44 the unit departed from location and resumed married formation at Walhorn, moving on to Roetgen, Germany. The command again consisted of B/47th, B/10th, Hq. Co. 47th and Hq. 47th. Arrived in new area in Roetgen Germany at 1910A.
At 0500 A 17 Dec. word was received to be ready to move immediately and that enemy paratroopers had been dropped in the vicinity. At 2000 A Co and S3 were ordered to report to Hq. C.C.R. Instructions were received to send one married platoon from B Co's to positions in vicinity of Bickerath ( K 971246) to occupy positions in that area and protect Engr's in laying mine field. One TD platoon of C/628 attached to unit from their Organization for this mission plus one Engr platoon C/22.
B Co's married platoon moved out at 2210 A under command of Major Pierce, Ex O 47th Armd. Inf .Bn. They were in position in their area at 0125 A 18 December 44, and TD platoon by 0220 A. Forward CP established in factory building in Lammersdorf, Germany. B Co reports throughout 19th Dec mostly concerned heavy vehicular traffic vicinity of Kesternich moving SW from Schmidt area.
At 1630 19 Dec. 1944 orders were received at this Hq.' s that the married platoon of B/Co's were to be relieved that evening and return to the company area under cover of darkness. Platoon relief completed and closed in company area in Roetgen at 1020 A 19 December 1944.
Unit remained in present area in Roetgen during day of 20 and 21st Dec 44 until 1400 A 21st Dec 44 when orders were received to move to Eupen at 1700 A that day. C .O., S-3 and. Co. Commanders moved out ahead to receive orders in Eupen, Belgium. Unit arrived in new sector at 2020 A. The following units were attached to this command for the operation, one platoon C/628 TD Bn., one Plat ( 2 Plat ) D/10. Disposition of troops was made as follows: Hq 47th K 816249, ( Monschau road), 2/B/10 and 2/B/47th ( K 818249 ) Monschau Road, Hq. Co. 47th ( K 818249 ) ( Monschau road ) Med. Det. / 47th K 809255 ( Monschau road ) B/10 and B/47th K 792205 ( Malmedy road ) TD Plat K 813249 ( Monschau road ) MG Plat with 2 D/10th K 812175 ( Malmedy road ) one plat C/85th K 809163 ( Malmedy road ) Later road blocks were placed at K 809209 and outposts at K 786172 and K 817177.
At 2000 on the 23rd Dec. 44 the Plat from C/628 was ordered to report back to Co and was relieved from attached to 47th Armored Infantry Battalion. Unit remained in above disposition with the mission of protecting Eupen from any enemy attack from 23rd Dec to 31 Dec 44. Enemy air active over the area during this period and a number of planes were destroyed by ground units located in the area.
At 1230 A 29 Dec. 1944 the S-3 together with the reconnaissance platoon of 47th Armd. Inf. Bn. went on a reconnaissance of possible assembly areas in the vicinity of Stolberg, Germany, Alsdorf, Germany and Eyqelshoven, Holland. Road nets were checked in the areas and general terrain studies made as far north as Geilenkirchen, Germany. Reconnaissance party then went to Maastricht, Holland and made a reconnaissance of terrain in that area returning via Aachen arriving at CP at 1430 A 30 Dec. 1944.
The year of 1944 ended with 47th Armored Infantry Battalion in Eupen, Belgium, area in defensive positions, blocking against any attempted break through by the enemy from the vicinity's of either Monschau or Malmedy.
While on an alert status in vicinity of 13th Infantry CP, the supply section issued flour, shortening, canned apples and peaches for making pies -just one means of bolstering morale.
One motor truck was badly damaged on striking a mine. The truck was turning around on a road over which there had been considerable military traffic. The Vossenack fray cost this unit three tanks, each mounting a 75mm gun.
While engaged with the enemy in the Brandenberg-Bergstein sector, this unit lost 1 57mm gun, 8 half-tracks, 6 tanks,. 6 536 radios were lost or destroyed. Other losses consisted of weapons, binoculars, watches, etc. Through the help of personnel at the unit aid station, some equipment was saved. Due to being attached to other units, some of this units wounded personnel were evacuated through aid stations other than our own. This factor is responsible for the loss of such articles as compasses, wrist-watches and individual arms.
Three half-tracks were driven into Bergstein under cover of darkness with the purpose of evacuating vehicles. Two half-tracks were retrieved this way. In an attempt to repossess some of the overshoes evacuated with casualties several evacuation hospitals and army salvage depots were visited. Approximately 50 pairs of overshoes were secured at the depot.
In an enemy area used as a bivouac area by this unit, a definite attempt was made to salvage abandoned clothing and equipment. All water and gas cans were collected where ever possible.
Some eighty water cans were delivered to Company "B" at Bergstein. A large number of these cans were hit by shrapnel. Many were abandoned due to the haste with which the unit was withdrawn. The shortage of vehicles did not afford sufficient space to transport both men and equipment.
No comments by Commanding Officer.
Lt Colonel, Infantry