By Captain Francis D. Linse



This monograph covers the actions of Company I, 121st Infantry, 8th Infantry division, during the battle for Hurtgen, 21-27 November 1944.

To bring the reader abreast of the situation prior to this tine, it will be necessary to go back and briefly cover events leading up to this action.

Following the breakthrough, in Normandy and the pursuit of the enemy across France, the early part of September found the American Armies fighting in the fringes of the Siegfried Line. Initially minor penetrations were made, but during the period 18-30 September heavy resistance developed and by 30 September the Germans were able to re-establish their lines running generally along the German border, except in the vicinity of Aachen in the north. Here, a furious battle took place in the early part of October and Aachen finally surrendered to the United States First Army 21 October 1944. 1  2

On 3 October, the VIII Corps of the Ninth Army, following cessation of fighting in the Brittany Peninsula, moved to the vicinity of Luxembourg and took over part of the First Army zone in that area. The VIII Corps now consisting of only the 2nd and 8th Infantry Divisions, moved into a sector along the Our River generally between Bollendorf and St Vith. The 2nd Division locating in the north and the 8th Division locating in the south. 3 4

The sector occupied by the 8th Division was a twenty-mile stretch of the German border along the Our River. For defense of this twenty mile area, the division front was divided in three areas of responsibility; 13th Infantry in the north; 28th Infantry in the center, and the 121st Infantry in the south. 5

In general, the greater part of the front was covered by patrols, with the armor and the bulk of the troops being held mobile, in order to move to any part of the division zone that might be threatened. The 709th Tank Battalion and the 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion were attached to the Division to assist in the defence of this sector. In addition, elements of the 9th Armored Division assisted in this defense from 20 October to 9 November 1944. The 9th Armored Division had just recently arrived in the VIII zone and this duty was designed to give them some battle experience. 6

The 121st Infantry, less the 3rd Battalion, was concentrated in the vicinity of the Wallendorf crossing. It was in this sector that the 5th Armored Division had penetrated the Siegfried Line 5 September, however, due to extended frontages and mounting enemy counterattacks, by 19th September the 5th armored was forced to withdraw back across the Our River. 7 8

Auth: CG 8th Inf Div
Date 2 October 1944
Initials LEM
CT 121
APO 8 U.S. Army
021130 A Oct 1944
F.O. # 1
Maps: Central Europe 1/100,000
  1. a. See enemy situation overlay (to be issued).
    b. VIII CORPS (2nd Inf Div and 8th Inf Div) relieves 28 Inf Div and 5th Armd Div in place beginning 1 Oct 1944, 2nd Inf Div on the left and the 8th Inf Div on the right, and holds the line now held by the 28th Inf and 5th Armd Div.
    c. 8th Inf Div relieving elements of the 28th Inf Div (109 Inf) in its sector and 5th Armd Div prior to 030600A Oct 44 will hold the sector as shown on overlay (Annex 1) and maintain contact with the Third Army (83 Div) on the right.
  2. CT 121 (less 3rd Bn on TD in Rennes) with Co C 644 TD Bn attached will hold in strength its portion of the Div sector (see Annex 1) maintaing contact with Third Army (83 Inf Div) on the right and protect the Div right flank.

Mellen /s/
This is a true extract copy, only pertinent parts included.
Francis D. Linse
Capt, Inf.

Action along this front from 1 October to 19 November consisted mainly of extensive patrolling by both sides. Enemy patrols, in this zone, were particularly active at night, and it was very dangerous for lone vehicles to travel the roads during the hours of darkness. 9


Top of Page