we were again assigned the mission of close support
of the 2nd
Armored Division, which was making a southward movement toward the city
of Aachen, Germany to assist in closing a gap to the east of the
After moving to Scherpenseel, Germany, in the morningthe companies
immediately were assigned sectors for road and bridge maintenance
began making necessary improvements. Due to the continuous damp
rainy weather the roads were heavily covered with mud which had
removed as it was deteriorating the road
Early in the morning of 11 October the battalion, intact, moved by convoy from Aalbeek through the city of Heerlen, across the border of Holland into Germany. Companies closed into bivouac at Scherpenseel, Germany (VK808.3), received assignments for road and bridge maintenance, and immediately commenced operations in their assigned sectors. Maintenance work was continuous due to heavy traffic and incessant rainy weather extending throughout the month. Supplementing bridge and road maintenance were missions of demolishing German pillboxes and bunkers within the Siegfried line.
Relations with the German civilian population were maintained strictly in accordance with instructions previously received from higher
headquarters. Numbers of families were returning to homes earlier evacuated and this required considerable control and some processing of suspicious individuals through CIC channels. Security measures were strengthened accordingly.
On 18 October a dry treadway bridge was constructed over the Wurm River by Company A in the vicinity of Palenburg. Bridges at
Zweibruggen and Rimburg were also being maintained.
It was realized that there was more road work to be done in the area than first thought, and two graders and a power shovel were obtained from 611th Engineer Light Equipment Company to assist in the road maintenance. A gravel pit was opened near Marienburg, Germany,
(vK844604) and the power shovel was placed there for operation. By the end of the month over a thousand loads of gravel had been hauled from the pit.
Company C improved an existing by-pass across the railroad near Rimburg, Germany (vK842450), making it a two way road. The existing by-pass had been very poorly constructed and it was necessary to construct drainage ditches and completely rebuild the existing fill.
Enemy air and artillery were extremely active during the month, On several occasions enemy planes bombed and strafed in and around
company bivouac areas. Two men were lightly wounded by anti-personnel bombs and several men sustained wounds from flying debris and artillery fire.
Permission was received from XIX Corps Headquarters on 23 October
to allow the battalion passes to Heerlen, Holland, and on 24 October Company C sent twelve men, to begin the pass schedule. Heerlen, one of the larger cities in southern Holland, was placed on limits; the American Red Gross and the Army Special Service Division immediately
began organizing plans of recreation. By the end of the month a civilian theater was opened to the soldiers showing the latest Hollywood
picturers. A café was also reserved, for dancing to the music of a Special Service Orchestra. For recreation within the battalion a theater
was cleaned up in Marienburg and films were obtained for shows twice a week.
Replacements received during the month of October totaled twenty-eight while loses amounted to twenty-five. Battalion strength as of 31 October was 28 officers, 3 warrant officers. and 598 enlisted men.
awarded as follows:
2nd Lt George E. Wagner O-1312496 CE, Co C 82nd Engr Combat Bn dtd 3 October 1944,
T/5 Donald K. Robson ASN 32830821, Co B, 82nd Engr Combat Bn. dtd 16 October 1944,
Pfc Santos W. Aragon ASN 38350082, Co B, 82nd Engr Combat Bn dtd 16 October 1944
Pvt Edward J. Beall- ASN 33554092, Co B, 82nd Engr Combat Bn dtd 16 October 1944,
Pfc John T. Casamassima ASN 32734115, Co A, 82nd Engr Combat Bn dtd 16 October 1944,
Pfc Roy C. Kennedy ASN 32830769, Co A. 82nd Engr Combat Bn dtd 18 October 1944,
Pfc Charles H. Piltzecker ASN 31063603, Co A. 82nd Engr Combat Bn dtd 16 October 1944,
Pvt Quentin R. Bright ASN 37500628, Co A. 82nd Engr Combat Bn dtd 16 October 1944,
Pvt Harold A. Lee ASH 32N 32830338 Co A, 82nd Engr Combat Bn dtd 16 October 1944,
Pvt Michael J. Sylvester ASN 13052981, Co A, 82nd Engr Combat Bn dtd 16 October 1944,
Pvt Edwin C. Van Koughnot ASN 32830728, Co C, 82nd Engr Combat Bn dtd 16 October 1944,
2nd Lt Edward J. Fairchild II, O-531099 CE, 82nd Engr Combat Bn dtd 19 October 1944,
Sgt Floyd E. Brooks ASN 38388095, Go B. 82nd Engr Combat Bn dtd 19 October 1944,
T/5 Thomas E. Winters ASN 33571059, Co B, 82nd Engr Combat Bn dtd 19-October 1944.
Pvt Vidal V. Torres ASN 32789314, Co B, 82nd Engr Combat Bn dtd 19 October 1944.
fall of Aachen during the later part of October, the Second Armored
Division, which we were directly supporting, was again facing east-ward
in November, working their way through the last of the Siegfried Line
defenses with the next major objective before the Rhine, the Roer
River, a short, but heavily defended, distance from the
German Frontier. The almost incessant rainfall and extremely heavy
traffic of the division as well as the traffic of the 84th Infantry
Division and part of the British Second Army moving into position
preparing for the advance at Geilenkirchen, necessitated constant vigil
and maintenance of roads in our sector. On many occasions the
battalion worked day and night in improving existing roads by the
application of rubble from demolished buildings and gravel, and also
widening existing roads to carry two-way traffic.
To provide gravel for the roads, a pit was in constant operation, with a power shovel of the 611th Engineer Light Equipment Company working throughout the daylight hours to load the trucks an they formed an ever ready line to rush gravel where it was needed. The pit at Marienburg, (vK846601) opened during October, was in operation until the work area moved forward when a new pit was opened at Floes, Germany (vK871564) 18 November 1944. A total of two thousand and fifty (2050) loads were taken from the two pits during the month. In addition to the gravel, seven hundred and fifty-eight (758) loads of rubble were used to form a base for the gravel.
In addition to the road maintenance there was a great deal of mine clearance to be done as the division advanced and broke through heavily mined and booby trapped defenses which had been occupied for some time by the enemy forces. Throughout the month a total of seven hundred and ninety-eight (798) mines were lifted from roads and fields.
Lieutenant Heller, with his first platoon and Lieutenant Malesky with his third platoon, both of Company C. were assigned the most extensive mine clearance mission since our arrival on the continent, 22 November 1944. The division had chosen a field for an assembly area, prior to the advance into Julich area, and request the field be checked for mines. Lieutenant Heller went to the field in the afternoon of the 22nd to give it a quick check and expected to be finished by evening. Difficulty was encountered at the beginning, however as the mines were literally "sowed" in a series of varied patterns using different types of mines. At the end of the second day of tedious sweeping and lifting the field was cleared of a total of 370 Teller mines, 100 Riegel mines and 48 "S" mines.
The first part of the month was spent in the maintenance of roads in the general areas of Palenburg, Sherpenseel, Marienburg, Ubach, Baesweile and Oidweiler, Germany. On 11 November we were relieved of all maintenance west of the Wurm River as the division was moving forward and main effort was placed on roads in the vicinity of Setterich, Beggendorf, Apweller, Bettendorf, Gereonsweiler and Puffendorf, Germany. To keep the command post near the working troops, the battalion moved to Floes, Germany (vK867559) on 19 November 1944.
On 16 November after several weeks of building up supplies and regrouping of troops, an offensive began on a large scale in an attempt to reach the Roer River. The enemy had at the same time used every effort to prepare extensive defenses. Our advance was slow and every mile gained was another mile to be cleared of mines and maintained by the engineers. Being in support of the Second Armored, we kept well forward with our operations and our work area advanced with the front troops. On several occasions our men began repairing roads and lifting mines in areas a few hours after they had been captured by the advancing armor.
“Jerry" had every natural advantage. We were in his homeland. where he had time to study and survey every inch of the terrain, the rainfall was excessive which hindered the advancing force and probably most important was the fact that the terrain was level, with numerous huge slag piles by the coal mines in the sector, which afforded him the best of observation. From these many points of observation he could watch the advancing troops and work parties and promptly directed artillery fire and mortar fire on us as we closed in about him. Roads, which were important supply routes, were particularly watched, thereby delaying mine clearance and much needed repair. This directly observed fire resulted in heavy casualties to us in men and equipment.
While working on the road between Loverloh and Floverich, Germany on 17 November we suffered heavily as a result of this direct observation. The second platoon of Company C, was engaged in sweeping this road for mines when the enemy dropped an intense mortar barrage, concentrating on one squad. Privates Norman T. Focht and Charles H. Houser were killed and Private Theodore M. Isaacs died the following day as a result of wounds received in the action. Sergeant Dinzel D. Leonard and Private Richard E. Fraser were seriously wounded and evacuated. Six others, Pfc Julius Perry, Privates Stratford W. Kenny, Thomas E. Donatt, George E. Strahm, Leon E. Elliot, and Frank W. Ruppert Jr, and Private Robert F. Sutton, were less seriously wounded at the same time.
Later the same day the third platoon of Company C was the target of a barrage of mortar fire and Lieutenant Malesky and S/Sgt Keeth were slightly wounded. S/Sgt Keeth was evacuated with multiple fragment wounds in the back.
Incidental to their engineer work Company C captured a total of twenty-two (22) prisoners in this same area. Lieutenant Malesky and his men took three of them and Lieutenant Anderson took the other nineteen.
While working near Freialdenhoven on 22 November the third platoon of company A was heavily shelled by artillery, killing one man, Pfc Roy C. Kennedy, and T/5 Kenneth A. Taber died of wounds in a hospital two days later. Corporal Robert B. Burnham and Pfc Fred M. Harned were lightly wounded and evacuated. Lieutenant William K. Sittig Jr was lightly wounded and remained duty when a shell fragment hit him in the cheek.
An enemy mine dealt a great blow to the battalion on 23 November when Lieutenant Joseph P. Campanale and Lieutenant Edward Fry, one of the few platoon leaders left that came overseas with the unit, were killed and Corporal F. F. Riccitelli, Pfc Abraham B. Hinman and Pfc Michael Schovel were lightly wounded. The platoons under Lieutenant Fry and Lieutenant Campanale were working together repairing a road out of Freialdenhoven hauling gravel to fill craters. A truck load of gravel had arrived and the two officers were walking toward the truck as it was backing up to dump the load. The rear wheels of the truck exploded the mine as the officers approached the place the gravel was to be dumped.
Several other casualties were sustained during the month from enemy artillery. T/5 William H. Gettleman, Privates William W. Wadhams, Jack L. Smith and William J. Hahn were slightly wounded on the night of 12 November when a dud struck the building they were in and came through the roof into their room. Private Wilbur Grider and T/5 Anthony R, Loiacano were slightly wounded by shell fragments while working near Ubach on 17 November. Private Henry L. Josefovsky was wounded while working near Puffendorf. Privates Anthony P. Scimia and Robert C. Vrocher were lightly wounded when a truck in which they were riding hit a Reigel mine in Setterich on 29 November 1944.
Shelling of the CP at Scherpenseel had ceased, but upon moving to Floes on the 19th we were again subjected to even heavier artillery fire. Fortunately only a few minor injuries were sustained from this shelling. Enemy air activity also increased with a considerable amount of bombing and strafing both in the bivouac areas and the work areas but no casualties were sustained from this action.
Water points were in operation during the month at Palenburg and Floes, delivering two hundred and seventy-one thousand, four hundred (271,400) gallons of water to corps and division troops.
The second Battlefield Appointment in the battalion to the commissioned rank was given 12 November 1944 when Staff Sergeant Winfred H. Downs was appointed Second Lieutenant. Second Lieutenants Robert L. Donnelly, Henry G. Heller and Gerald J. Williams were promoted to the grade of First Lieutenant on 16 November 1944.
A total of twenty-seven enlisted men and four officers were received as replacements during the month and losses were thirty enlisted men and two officers. Battalion strength as of 30 November was thirty officers, three warrant officers and five hundred and ninety-five enlisted men.
awards and decorations were received by men of the battalion during the
Silver Star Medal
S/Sgt Carl E. Lietzke (posthumous) GO #49, Hq XIX Corps, 1 Nov 44.
Pfc William R. Horner GO #49, Hq XIX Corps, 1 Nov 44.
Bronze Star Medal
1st Lt Robert H. Bussell O-1106030 (Oak-Leaf Cluster) GO #49, Hq XIX Corps 1 November 44.
1st Lt Stephen C. Ransom O-1109610 GO #49, Hq XIX Corps, 1 Nov 44.
Pvt Roger A. Sanford - ASH 32746312 GO#49, Hq XIX Corps, 1 Nov 44,
Pvt Gordon M. Delaney - ASN 32857440 GO #58, Hq XIX Corps, 1 Nov 44.
Purple Heart (Oak-Leaf Cluster)
Pvt William W. Wadhams - ASN 3273,3929 - GO #17, Hq 82nd Engineer Combat Bn, 13 Nov 44.
T/5 Alcess P. Thibodeaux - ASN 38379570 - GO #15, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn, 4 Nov 44.
Pvt Joseph S. Kieron - ASN 32830654 - GO #15, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn, 4 Nov 44.
Pvt Fred H. Rogers - ASN 33539959 - GO #15, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn,4 Nov 44.
T/5 William H. Gettleman - ASN 32830654 - GO #17, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn,3 Nov 44.
Pvt William J. Hahn - ASN 33461747 - GO #17, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn,13 Nov 44.
Pvt Jack L. Smith - ASN 32909912 - GO #17, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn.13 Nov 44.
1st Lt Edwin S. Malesky - O-1113336 - GO #18, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn.
20 Nov 44.T/5 Anthony R. Loiacano - ASN 32676106 - GO #18, Hq 82d.Engr Combat Bn.20 Nov 44.
Pfc Julius Perry - ASN 38388110 - GO #18, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn.20 Nov 44.
Pfc Robert F. Sutton - ASN 38327965 - GO #18, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn. 20 Nov 44.
Pvt Thomas E. Donatt - ASN 33554073 - GO #18, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn. 20 Nov 44.
Pvt Wilbur E. Grider - ASN 17002060 - Go #18, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn. 20 Nov 44.
Pvt Stratford W. Kenny - ASN 32786884 - GO #18, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn. 20 Nov 44.
Pvt George E. - Strahm ASN 32787545 - GO #18, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn. 20 Nov 44.
2nd Lt William K. Sittig Jr - O-1590813 - GO #19, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn. 24 Nov 44.
Pfc Michael Schovel - ASN 33427866 - GO, #19, Hq 82 Engr Combat Bn. 24 Nov 44.
Pvt Ned Littlejohn - ASN 34430793 - GO #19, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn. 24 Nov 44.
T15 Henry L. Josefovsky - ASN 13130716 - GO #20, Hq 82d Engr Combat Bn. 26 Nov 44.
1944, the last month of another year and the completion of one years
overseas service for the 82nd Engineer Combat Battalion, found the
battalion inside the German Siegfried Line, and engaged in some of the
most strenuous road building work since landing in France in
June. Due to the high amount of precipitation during December,
the poor roads in the assigned sectors required long hours of hard work
to keep the traffic moving. The greater portion of the month we
were in close support of the 2nd Armored Division, maintaining their
supply routes, removing enemy mine fields, operating water points and
performing other engineer tasks. In conjunction with our road
maintenance five culverts were constructed in the area
(vK967571), (vK956571). (vK959672) and (vK956572).
For their outstanding characteristics of leadership, courage, and skill, two more men if the battalion, 1st sergeant Ollie Miller, first sergeant of Company C, and Master Sergeant William H. Nichols, the battalion construction foreman, were appointed second lieutenants in the Corps of Engineers on 4 December. Lieutenant Miller was assigned to Company C as platoon leader, while Lieutenant Nichols was assigned assistant S-3 on the battalion staff. These two battlefield appointments brought the total for the battalion to four since arriving on the continent.
For gallantry in action against the enemy from 29 September to 30 September, Captain John R. Davis was awarded the Silver Star Medal per General Orders No 82, Headquarters XIX Corps, dated 13 December 1944. Captain Davis led a task force of one squadron of cavalry and one platoon of his company in a successful attack on two small Dutch towns, driving the enemy from them. Major General Raymond S. McLain personally presented the medal to Captain Davis on 15 December 1944 in a ceremony at Corps Headquarters.
The 26 December issue of the “Stars and Stripes", the army's daily newspaper, contained the following article:
BRIDGE BUILDERS SPAN FIVE RIVERS, SEINE TOUGHEST
By Jules Grad
Stars and Stripes Staff Writer
WITH NINTH U. S. ARMY, Dec. 25, 1944
Ever since it arrived on the Continent six months ago today, the 82nd Engineer Combat Batta1ion, of one of the 19th Corps bridge building outfits, has worked near the front, spanning rivers in Francs, Belgium and Holland. Now it’s dodging mortars and 105s in Germany.
The Joes aren’t much on looks in their mud-smeared ODs and thed'd never make the red, white and blue cigarette ads back home, but they're as American as every one of the 48 states they come from.
Since June 17 they’ve supported the 29th, 30th and 35th Inf, Divs., Second, Third and Seventh Armored Divs, and the 113th Cav. Group.
SEINE WAS TOUGHEST
In six months they’ve spanned 1,400 feet of water across the Vire, Drome, Seine and Meuse Rivers. One of their roughest jobs was a 720-foot treadway bridge across the Seine just west of Paris.
The Army calls them bridge builders, but the grimy engineers go in for extra-curricular activities like removing about 900 Bouncing Betseys from three death-laden Nazi minefields, clearing and maintaining 116 miles of roads from St. Lo to Germany and hauling a couple of thousand loads of gravel to repair another 150 miles of highways.
Just to keep in practice, where the fighting is rough, the 82nd captured 23 Germans.
Although some of that statistics are inaccurate, the article was welcomed by all of the personnel - now we were off the secret list.
Since there were no streams for potable water in the vicinity of Floes, Germany, a well at a nearby mine was put in operation by the water supply section under Technical Sergeant Drees to provide water for all nearby troops. Considerable difficulty was experienced in this operation because the water, like all other in this area, had a high mineral content causing it to be not potable. After considerable experimentation our men were soon putting out water that was crystal clear. As this was the first time any army unit had experienced with the use of wells in mines, the engineer section of Ninth Army Headquarters took a great deal of interest in it and they performed several more tests for bacteria content. We continued to operate the point until 113 December when an army unit relieved us.
Shelling of the bivouac area and work area was heavy during the month. The enemy had direct observation from his position east of the Roer River on our forward work areas which he used to great advantage. On clear days many roads could not be worked at all, and heavy equipment could not be used in some sectors at any time.
While filling shell holes in the vicinity of Merzenhausen, Germany, several men of Company C, working around their bulldozer became the target of enemy artillery. Within a few minutes a barrage of artillery hit among the men resulting in the death of one man from wounds, another man was seriously wounded, and three men slightly wounded. The dozer was put out of action by shell fragments, but the operator, T/5 Wimberly was uninjured as he was protected by the armored cab. The barrage caught Pvt Martin J, Berry and Pvt William E. Preston in the open and both were seriously wounded. Both men were carried directly to the hospital, but Pvt Berry died without regaining consciousness. Sergeant Raymond A. Allen, Pfc Bernard C Quinten and Pvt Anthony S. Tanoredi received light wounds but were not evacuated.
A vehicle driver, T/4 George W. Madison, Headquarters and Service Company, exhibited heroism in the evacuation of Berry and Preston, Major Edgar L. Green and Captain Clarence T. Cates were making an inspection of the road areas in a vehicle driven by T/4 Madison. They were about three hundred yards from the C Company work party when the artillery began falling. They stopped the vehicle and took cover in the nearby foxholes. T/4 Madison, seeing that the two man had been wounded, drove his vehicle up to them under heavy fire, loaded Pvt Berry on the vehicle and took him to a nearby aid station where he (Madison) obtained another vehicle and returned to got Pvt Preston still under fire. T/4 Madison was recommended for the Silver Star for this action.
With the transfer of Lieutenant Bussell to 1115th Engineer Combat Group on detached service, several shifts were made in officer personnel, Captain Cates took command of Company A, Lieutenant Ransom became Company Commander of Headquarters and Service Company, and Lieutenant Wright was assigned as Motor Transport officer.
While on duty in the gravel pit near Aldenhoven (vK984588), Technical Sergeant Rocco W. Turso, battalion construction foreman, stepped from one 2½ ton truck into the path of another which was backing up. The driver of this truck did not see T/Sgt Turso and backed over him, fracturing his back and causing other internal injuries. He was evacuated.
Until 19 December we were in close support of the 2nd Armored Division, now reforming in the vicinity of Alsdorf, Germany. Towns in our assigned area were, Aldenhoven, Freialdenhoven, Merzenhausen, Siersdorf, Bettendorf, 0idtweiler, Setterick, Frauenrath, Durboslar, and Barmen, Germany, Due to the successful attack of the German forces in a sector to our south the 2nd Armored Division was called upon to help repel the attack and we were relieved from our support mission.
In the general shifting of troops, the Corps sector was extended to the south to take in new division areas, and we were assigned the mission of close support of the 104th Infantry Division. The battalion moved to Eschweiler, Germany on 22 December 1944.
Immediately after our move, reconnaissance parties were dispatched to reconnoiter the assigned area, classify roads and bridges, locate engineer supplies, and, to determine the engineer work required. Our new sector included the area around Eschweiler, Weisweiler, Schevenhutte, Altdorf, Luchem, Geich, Sohlich, Merode, Inden, Mamersdorf, Lucherberg, and Langerwehe. The area was fully reconnoitered for defense since there was a threat of German attack in our sector. Positions were chosen and prepared for use in the event such as attack would occur. Extensive plans were pre-pared and a task force, “Lion” under command of the Chief of Staff of the 104th Infantry Division was formed or the troops in and around Eschweiler. Engineer parties swept roads, trails, and fields that were to be used in the zone of defense, prepared road blocks. and laid mines. Bridges were prepared for demolition and guards placed on them so they could be blown at once in event of an enemy break-through. As a defense against enemy airborne operations. Company A with a platoon of medium tanks from the 739th Tank Battalion, was placed on alert to combat any such action.
In addition to regular engineer duties, cinders were stock piled along all main highways to be used in icy weather. To assist this operation a power shovel was placed in a cinder pit to load trucks. To supplement our own trucks a platoon from the 1451st Engineer Dump Truck Company was attached to the battalion.
Lieutenant Nicolai and his second platoon of Company A constructed
a timber bridge at wF068410 on 27 - 28 December 1944.
Statistics on some of the work for the month of December are as follows:
Dozer operations - 440 hours
Power Shovel Operation - 300 hours
Grader Operation - 230 hours
Water delivered - 355,490 gallons
Gravel used - 2,033 loads
Rubble used - 1,2715 loads
Cinders used - 118 loads
Stone used - 213 loads
Pillboxes blown - 8
Personnel gains for the month were 14 enlisted men, 2 officers, and losses amounted to 17 enlisted men. Battalion strength as of 31 December 1944 was 32 officers, 3 warrant officers, 592 enlisted men.
and Awards for December
Capt John R. Davis O-1110450 GO #82, Hq XIX Corps, dtd 13 Dec 44 for gallantry in action.
Bronze Star Medal
T/Sgt Clifford J, Weir, ASN 33367022, G0 #80, Hq XIX Corps dtd 11 Dec 44 for meritorious service.
General Orders #21, Hq 82nd Engineer Combat Battalion dtd 4 December 1944:
Pfc Francis C, Mingalone, 32787800, Company "A*.
Pvt Freston E. Keziah Jr, 33554372, Company “A”.
Pvt James L. Phipps, 14058248, Company "A".
General Orders #22, 82nd Engineer Combat Battalion dtd 16 December 1944
Sgt Raymond A. Allen, 36072773, Company “C”.
Pfc Fredrick J. Woods, 32831032, Company “B”.
Pfc Joseph C. Cianci, 33457510, Company “C".
Pvt Albert M. Finn, 31260990, Company “B”.
Pvt Anthony S. Tancredi, 32787778, Company “C”.
General Orders #24, Hq 82nd Engineer Combat Battalion dtd 21 December 1944
Cp1 Jess W. Elkins, 38397809, Medical Detachment.
Purp1e Heart (0ak-Leaf Cluster)
General Orders #23, Hq 82nd Engineer Combat Battalion dtd 17 December 1944.
Pvt Richard P. Lynoh, 32830897, Company “B".
Officers of the battalion and positions held as of 31 December 1944 were as follows:
Lt Col J. C. Dalrymple Commanding Officer
Major James. L. Morris Executive Officer
Major Edgar L. Green S-3
Captain Thomas A. Barry S-4
Captain John E. Tracy S-2
Captain William H. Corrin ADE
1st Lt Wilbert L. White Rcn Officer
1st Lt Gerald J. Williams Adjutant
1st Lt Edwin S. Malesky Asst S-2
1st Lt Casey V. Santochi Asst S-3
2nd Lt William H. Nichols Asst S-3
Headquarters and Service Company
1st Lt Stephen C. Ransom Company Commander
2nd Lt Clarence J. Wright MTO
CWO Elmer R. Lundgren Asst S-4
WOJG Marvin Q. Silver Pers Officer
WOJG Jim W. Warren Asst MTO
Captain Clarence T. Cates Company Commander
2nd Lt Chester M. Davison Jr Adm Officer
2nd Lt William K. Sittig Jr Platoon Leader
1st Lt Mansel M. Mayeux Platoon Leader
2nd Lt George A. Vuksta Platoon Leader
Captain John R. Davis Company Commander
2nd Lt Winfred H. Downs Adm 0fficer
1st Lt Frank W. Krebs Platoon Leader
2nd Lt Preston (NMI) Stewart Platoon Leader
1st Lt Henry B. Nicolai Platoon Leader
Captain Walter L. Anderson Company Commander
2nd Lt George E. Wagner Adm 0fficer
1st Lt Henry G. Heller Platoon Leader
1st Lt John J, Donnell Platoon Leader
2nd Lt Ollie (NMI) Miller Platoon Leader
Captain Emanuel U. Oxman Bn Surgeon
Captain Adam J. Hauman Dent Surgeon
letters of commendation were received during the month of December from
the Commanding General, 2nd Armored Division, for our work in close
support of the division in their advance to the Roer River. The
letters received are as follows:
HEADQUARTERS 2D ARMORED DIVISION
Office of the Division Commander
A.P.O. # 252
5 December 1944 SUBJECT: Commendation.
TO : Lt. Col. J. C. Dalrymple, Commanding Officer, 82d Engineer Combat
Battalion, APO 339, U. S. Army. (Through Channels).
1. I wish to commend you and your officers and men for the superior
manner in which the 82d Engineer Combat Battalion closely supported the division in its recent advance to the Roer River.
2. In this latest operation, the division encountered obstacles in the form of mines, and roads made practically impassable by rain and soggy terrain, the worst yet encountered by us in the European Campaign. In all instances you and your men gave immeasurably assistance to our own division engineers in clearing the way for the continued advance of the division to all its objectives.
3. The splendid cooperative spirit, determination to succeed and skill in accomplishing all tasks demonstrated by you and your men, reflects the highest credit to your battalion and to your group.
4. I hope It will be our pleasure to have the support of your battalion in the future operations of this division.
/s/ E. N. Harmon
/t/ E. N. HARMON
Major General, U. S. Army
330.13 (A) 1st Ind
HQ XIX CORPS; APO 270, 13 Dec 1944
THRU: CO, 1115th Engr C Gp, APO 339.
TO : CO, 82nd Engr C Bn, APO 339.
I am very pleased to note and transmit the above commendation.
/s/ Raymond S. McLain
/t/ RAYMOND S. McLAIN
Major General, U. S. Army
330.13 2d Ind
HQ, 1115TH ENGR C GP, APO 339, U. S. Army, 14 December, 1044.
T0 : CO, 82nd Engr C Bn, APO 339,1 U. 8. Army.
This commendation is forwarded with the appreciation of the Group Commander for an outstanding job. It is one more indication of the high state of training and efficiency of the 82nd Engr C Bn.
/s/ G. H. Hodges
/t/ G. H. HODGES
Lt Colonel CE
HEADQUARTERS 2D ARMORED DIVISION
Office of the Division Commander
A.P.O. # 252
5 December 1944
TO : Lt Col G. H. Hodges, Commanding Officer, 1115th Engineer Combat
Group, APO 339# U. S. Army. (Through Channels),
1. I wish to commend you and the other members of your group for the superior manner in which you supported the division in its successful advance to the Roer River.
2. Confronted with the worst conditions in the form of enemy mines, poor terrain conditions and heavy rain, our division engineers received unhesitatingly, the complete support of your group. This assistance contributed greatly to the success of the division in reaching all of its objectives.
3. The performance of your organization under all circumstances reflects a high state of training and is a credit to the entire Corps of Engineers.
4. The continued support of your group should be an important factor in future operations.
/s/ E. N. Harmon
/t/ E. N. HARMON
Major General, U. S. Army
330.13 (A) 1st Ind
HQ XIX CORPS, APO 270 U. S. ARMY, 13 December 1944.
TO: CO, 1115th Engr C Group, APO 339.
The above commendation has been noted and is forwarded with pleasure.
/s/ Raymond S. McLAIN
/t/ RAYMOND S. McLAIN
Major General, U. 5, Army
330.13 2d Ind
HQ, 1115th Engr C Gp, APO 339, U. S. ARMY 14 December 1944.
TO: CO, 82nd Engr C Bn. APO 339, U. S. Army.
/s/ G. H. Hodges Jr
/t/ G. H. HODGES JR
Lt. Colonel, CE
begin the now year the battalion remained in the close support of
the 104th Infantry Division maintaining roads and bridges in the
sector, and acting as Corps reserve to combat enemy activity. We
still a part of task force “Lion” and Company A remained on
combat enemy airborne operations. On the first day of January an
observation post was established in a church steeple
Eschweiler (vK,972469) and manned by Company A as a part of their anti
air-borne mission. Snow began to fall on 4 January
and continued for
four days, causing large drifts on most of the roads in the
traffic was heavy the snow was packed solid and resulted in very
slippery roads throughout the Corps sector.
On the first day of January, a map (copy enclosed) showed the route of advance of the XIX Corps through France, Belgium Holland and into Germany, was distributed to each member of the battalion as a memento of the splendid job done since arriving in France.
1. Any commendation to a Commanding Officer is merely an official recognition of the work of all members of that unit. I therefore forward this letter to your Battalion with a great deal of pleasure.
2. I should like to take this opportunity to add my personal appreciation of the outstanding job you have done and of the loyal support you have given me during the two months it has been my honor to have commanded this Group.
battalion commander presented, Certificates of Merit to the
following men in a formal ceremony on 7 January 1945:
S/Sgt Orvind G. White
T/3 Anthony R. Riccio
T/4 Leonard E. Archambo
T/5 Arthur J. Lozar
HEADQUARTERS AND SERVICE COMPANY
Sgt Bernard B. Williamson
T/Sgt Arnold S. Brodsky
T/Sgt Berthel H. Edgmon
S/Sgt George E. Gale
S/Sgt Harvey A. Gill
T/4 Robert J. Domingue
T/4 0arol E. Thomas
Cpl Edward Friedman
T/5 Ernest W. Falcsik
T/5 Robert L. Fulford
Pfc Geliantto C. Masone
Sgt Erwin P. Kreutter
Sgt Willard M. Rutherford
T/4 Merton J. Comstock
Cpl Francis E. Jaquette
T/5 Bernard C. Leonard
T/5 George D. Viokers
T/5 Frank S. Vittorie
Pfc Arthur J. Frederiok
Pfc Arthur J. Lucchesi
Pfc Charles A. Riordan
T/4 Willard I. Howard
T/5 Charles A. Haneke
Pfc Grover N, Baber
Pfc Enrique, M. Gamboa
Pfc Russell Paul
Pfc John A. Kilbourne
Pfc Charles R. Ross
Pfc Lawrence L. Trip1ett
Pvt Richard E. Baker
Pvt Maurice H. Loups
1st/Sgt Charles E. Goodall
S/Sgt Walter Hamilton
S/Sgt Joseph H. Stevens
S/Sgt Ray A. Stone
Sgt John J. DiAntonio Jr
Sgt Leland S. Larmon
T/4 Morgan L. Sheridan
T/5 Carl A. Bokek
T/5 John R. Gardner
T/5 James D. Hutton
Pfc Vernon R. Herring
Pfc Paul Lea
Pfc Roland L. Simpson
The citation on the certificates was as follows:
___________by his technical skill, courage, determination and devotion
to duty during the period 17 June 44 to 17 Dec 44 contributed greatly to the glorious success of our arms against an enemy of the United States. As a member of the 82nd Engineer Combat Battalion, attached to the XIX U. S. Army Corps, he actively aided by engineer operations such as mine lifting, road building and bridge construction, the rapid advance of the 2D, 3D, and 7th Armored Divisions, 29th, 30th and 35th Infantry Divisions and 113th Cav Group through France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany.
The citation on the certificates awarded members of the Medical Detachment was as follows:
___________by his technical skill, courage, determination and devotion
to duty during the period 17 June 44 to 17 Dec 44 contributed greatly to
the glorious success of our arms against an enemy of the United States. As a member of the Medical Detachment, 82nd Engineer Combat Battalion, attached to the XIX U. S. Army Corps, he actively aided the battalion wh1oh supported the rapid advance of the 2D, 3D, and 7th Armored Divisions, 29th, 36th Infantry Divisions, and 113th Cav Group through France, Belgium Holland and into Germany.
anticipation of being issued 4.2 chemical mortars to supplement
our basic weapons, nine man were sent to a school conducted by 1115th
Engineer Combat Group to become familiar with their operation, and test
fire them. 81mm mortars were used for training purposes as 4.2
mortars could not be obtained.
Intermittent shelling was experienced in the work areas while per-forming engineer duties and aerial activity increased. Many fighter planes were over the work and bivouac areas, and on the first day of the month several ME 109's and FW 190's, returning from rear area missions, flew over the bivouac area at tree top level. Our anti-air-craft weapons fired on them. One of the planes crashed, but no credit was claimed by our men manning the guns, as sufficient proof could not be obtained as to the direct cause of the crash.
While clearing a gap through a minefield in the vicinity of vK934777, 1 January, S/Sgt Anthony Lance and Pvt Noel Butler were wounded when they attempted to remove a Schu mine with a rope but since it was frozen in the ground, pulling only resulted in breaking the box. While in the process of reattaching the rope for another try the mine was detonated. S/Sgt Lance was seriously wounded about the face and legs and Pvt Butler was slightly wounded about the face.
Due to heavy frost and heavy snow fall, ice control and snow removal kept everyone well occupied. All available trucks of the battalion and those of the attached first platoon of 1451st Engineer Dump Truck Company were diverted to hauling cinders and plowing snow. Crews were placed on all main highways to spread cinders on the ice and the trucks that weren't used for spreading were used to stock pile for future use. The improvised snow plows, previously built by the maintenance section, as well as graders and dozers, were used to clear the snow from the roads and continued to patrol them.
Company B continued to demolish the remaining pillboxes of the Seigfried line around Schevenhutte and west of there, toward Aachen. A total of 92 boxes were blown and other installations were destroyed. The demolition crews under Lieutenant Krebs and Lieutenant Nicolai worked rapidly so the enemy would not have an opportunity to reoccupy the position should he make an attempt to break through in this area. On the 13th of January the battalion began to improve a low class road in the vicinity of Gey from wFOG5417 to wF075426. The ground was frozen and it was next to impossible to doze or grade off the ruts in the frozen road surface. By continually dozing and back blading it was possible to partially level the worst spots. Rock was hauled and spread over the entire road filling the ruts and adding an additional four inches of stone to the entire road.
On 10 January a flight of Allied bombers, on a mission to bomb the Cologne area, accidentally dropped their load of bombs on the command post of the 104th Division. Over one hundred craters cut the CP and surrounding road-net to pieces. Company A and all
available trucks were turned to the task of cleaning up the CP and filling in the craters. By dark the roads were repaired and ready for traffic.
Because of the extended front occupied by each division it was necessary to use other than Infantry to man the defensive positions in many places. In compliance with paragraph 5, Letter of Instruction No 102, Headquarters, XIX Corps, dated 21 January 1945, we relieved the 234th Engineer Combat Battalion on 23 January in the vicinity of Bilstein and Winden, along the Roer River. Having been previously alerted for the mission, steps had been taken for preparation. Classes were held by the battalion communications section to teach men of the companies the principles of laying wire and operating switch boards.
On the night of 20 January, selected staff and company officers and platoon sergeants went forward to the front line positions to gain first hand information and remain there the following day to reconnoiter the positions they were to occupy. Each individual remained in the positions he and his men were to occupy and had ample opportunity to observe the surrounding terrain as well as the enemy positions across the river.
On line as Infantry
We were relieved from the support of the 104th Division, and attached to the 1115th Engineer Combat Group, on the 21st and attached to the 113th Cavalry Group. Company A further attached to the 113th Cavalry squadron; Company B was in 113th Cavalry Group reserve and was also assigned the mission of performing all required engineer work in the group sector. Company A was assigned a sector of the line in the vicinity of Winden (wF114385). The battalion (less A and B), with 8th Reconnaissance Troop attached occupied a defensive position in the vicinity of Bilstein (wF100379). The forward CP was located at Strass (wF078390) and engineer CP was located at Gay (wF072397). The battalion rear CP remained at Eschweiler.
During the afternoon and night on the 23rd, the battalion relieved the 234th Engineer Combat Battalion in the line and took up the previously assigned sectors. All elements of the 234th were relieved by 2200. Company B was responsible for the manning of the Regimental Reserve Line and the company spent the remainder of the night by orienting all personnel. During the early morning hours of the 24th enemy movement was heard on the far side of the river but mortar fire quieted this movement. One round fell short of the objective and landed in the area occupied by Company C. Pvt Tommy E. Thomason was slightly wounded and evacuated, but returned to duty later in the month.
In addition to the attached reconnaissance troop, eight men from the 426th Medical Battalion were attached to the battalion as litter bearers, and were assigned to Companies A and C.
Contact was made with the units on its flanks by Company C and communication lines were set up with the 3rd Battalion of the 13th Infantry, 8th Infantry Division, on the right flank and with the 113th Cavalry Squadron on the left flank.
Throughout, the entire period on the line, enemy activity was slight and consisted mainly of artillery and mortar fire. An occasional patrol was spotted attempting to reconnoiter the river but artillery fire was called immediately and each time activity was stopped. Our own patrols were active each night and on different occasions crossed the river on. reconnaissance; two attempts were made to capture prisoners. Company C sent out a reconnaissance patrol to cross the river on the night of 25-26 January, but they were fired upon and returned without making a crossing . Heavy mortar fire during the night made contact with the flank units difficult and the wire crews of Company C were busy all night repairing breaks caused by shrapnel.
Plans were made for a patrol to raid the far shore in an attempt to capture enemy prisoners and Lieutenant Heller, chosen to lead the raid, made extended reconnaissance and, with his men, rehearsed the proposed raid on similar terrain. On the night of 31 January - 1 February at 0410, a preparatory artillery and mortar barrage was laid down by supporting units to block off the patrol's assigned area. As the patrol left for the enemy positions the fire was lifted from the immediate attack area and the patrol proceeded to cross the river into the enemy positions. All known positions were searched, but they had been vacated and as a result no prisoners were taken.
Company B was kept busy each night in their engineer tasks and continued maintaining and adding to the prepared defenses. An additional minefield was laid in the vicinity of wF107406 on the night of 25 January, and the same night anti-personnel mines and trip flares were installed around forward antitank gun positions. Another minefield was laid from wF191379 to wFO87378. Concertina was laid along the Regimental and Battalion Reserve Lines and some places where only single concertinas had been constructed, they were improved by making them triple. There was a considerable amount of road work to be done particularly in clearing drifted snow.
Heavy shelling of the bivouac area in Strass resulted in one casualty 25 January 1948. Pvt Roland D. Bailey of Company B was slightly wounded when a piece of shrapnel hit him in the leg. On 28 January a shell hit in the vicinity of the water point outside of Gey and T/5 Dave M. Williams, T/4 Robert J. Domingue and Pfc Frank A. Bannon were wounded. T/5 Williams was evacuated but the other two men remained duty.
On the morning of 30 January Companies A and C opened fire with all weapons on all known and suspected enemy positions and installations across the river, to divert the enemy's attention from an attack by the 78th Infantry Division to the south. The firing began at 0700, along with heavy artillery fire, and continued for fifteen minutes. All automatic weapons had been moved to their alternate positions so the regular positions would not be located by the enemy. A small amount of enemy small arms, mortar and artillery fire was returned, but only one slight casualty was sustained when Corporal Wade P. Fleshman was hit on the chin by a piece of flying shrapnel. Corporal Fleshman remained on duty.
During the night of 30 January and 31 January, after a severely cold and windy day, the weather became warmer and a steady rain began to fall. By early morning 31 January, nearly all of the snow was melted and once again we were struggling in the mud,
|Statistics on some of the engineer work for
the month of January were as follows:
Quickway and shovel operated 317 hours
Graders, motorized and towed operated 16l hours
D-7 Dozers operated 318 hours
Water delivered 218,620 gallons
Stone used 573 loads
Cinders used 2,664 loads
Mines laid 2,603 mines
Snow fence erected 5,225 feet
Pillboxes destroyed 92
Explosives used 43,013 pounds
Concertina erected 2,000 yards
TD and AT guns dug in 54
Cattle buried 70
only decoration presented during the month of January was the Silver
Star Medal to T/4 George W. Madison for Gallantry in Action in Germany
on 11 December 1944. Award was made on General Orders Number 14,
Headquarters, XIX Corps, dated 21 January 1945, and presentation was
made by Major General McLain the Corps Commander, on 29 January in a
formal ceremony at XIX Corps Headquarters.
Personnel gains for the month were 21 enlisted mens, and losses were 1 officer, Captain Hauman hospitalized for a leg ailment, and 26 enlisted men. Battalion strength as of 31 January 1945 was 31 officers, 3 Warrant officers, and 578 enlisted men.
February found the battalion still attached to the 113th Cavalry Reconnaissance Group. Except for enemy patrols into our lines our positions remained intact. There was no undue activity by the enemy except for intermittent shelling of our front line positions and bivouac areas. Special mention must be made of the Communications Section under Technical Sergeant Jaret, who with his men labored untiringly to keep the communication lines open at all times, in spite of huge snow storms and enemy interference with shell fire.
The lightning thrust of Von Rundatedt's Army through the Ardennes Forest had been contained, and through successive American counter measures had been practically eliminated. Troops that had been moved to the "Bulge” to neutralize the German thrust were now in the process of being shifted to their previous sectors. These troops together with the troops that had remained behind to guard against any further enemy penetrations were joined and assigned shorter sectors to prepare for the mounting American offensive. As a result of this regrouping of forces our positions on the Roer River reverted to the infantry. On 4 February we were relieved of our mission per Letter of Instructions, Headquarters XIX Corps, dated 4 February 1945.
Withdrawal from our positions was accomplished without incident during the afternoon and night of the 4th and the early morning of the 5th. Our battalion returned to it's previously held quarters in Eschweiler. Billeting parties were then dispatched to locate a new bivouac area as Esohweiler was now in VII Corps area. Billets were subsequently found and occupied in Warden (vK924514) during the afternoon of the 5th. The new CP opened at 1230.
Work now consisted chiefly of road maintenance as persistent foul weather made roads into streams and ribbons of mud. The battalion was assigned a working area in the vicinity of Pier, Lucherburg, Schleiden, Pattern, Obermerz, Fronhoven, and Langendorf, in support of the 295th Engineer Combat Battalion. At the same time careful plans were being made for the forthcoming crossing of the Roer River by the XIX Corps. Much time was devoted to the
rubbeling and graveling of roads and the drainage of them. Stock piles of crushed rock and gravel were amassed whenever trucks could be spared.
Mission on the Roer
Our mission in connection with one of the most important and strategic operations of the war, the crossing of the Roer, River, can be most thoroughly demonstrated by the report sent to the Commanding Officer, 1115th Engineer Combat Group as follows:
1. MISSION. In conjunction with the advance of the Ninth US Army
across the ROER RIVER, GERMANY, this battalion was on 7 February 1945
initially assigned the mission of supporting the 30th Division by the construction of an M-2 Treadway Bridge across the river in the vicinity of PIER, GERMANY. At this time the river at the site was in two channels approximately 34' and 52' wide respectively. Shortly thereafter the dams upstream were damaged by the enemy and the river overflowed its banks with a much increased velocity. It became apparent that the division engineers would not be able to handle the assault boats and construct footbridges so this battalion was assigned the mission of constructing a footbridge at the same site. While the river was in flood it was planned to utilize “alligators” operated by another battalion to supply the bridge head and to build the bridge at a later date when the flood had subsided.
2. PLAN, Company B was assigned the mission of constructing the originally planned treadway bridge. With the change in plans and anticipating an interval of several days between the construction of the foot- bridge and the ultimate treadway bridge. B Company was assigned both missions. A Company was assigned the mission of sweeping and clearing the approach roads and of constructing the bridge approaches. C Company was initially held in battalion reserve.
a. As it was possible to reach the bridge site at night, reconnaissance patrols ascertained that the minium length of footbridge would be 280'. The current could not be measured but was estimated to be between eight and ten miles per hour. No natural holding-fasts existed. The difficulties involved in construction of a footbridge were fully realized and efforts were made to locate a more suitable site. A site 160' wide with good natural hold fasts were found a short distance downstream but the division engineers decided to utilize it. As no other sites existed within the division sector, it accordingly was planned to construct opposite PIER.
b. In addition to the normal river bed the ground was flooded for several hundred yards on each side with even the road, which was on fill, partially inundated. Consequently the only possible site was to build from the road immediately adjacent to the existing demolished bridge. In addition, a canal with a 30' wet gap existed on the near shore.
4. OPERATIONS - FOOT BRIDGE.
a. H hour was set for 230330 February. For several nights prior to this A Company cleared and repaired streets in and around PIER to permit passage of bridging trucks. They also fabricated two portable footbridges for use at the canal. On the evening of 22 February, A Company installed their footbridges and swept the roads to the site. B Company unloaded the footbridge where cover was available approximately 500 yards from the site.
b. At H-45 minutes the artillery concentration began and B Company began immediately to carry the footbridge to the site and assemble it. They also began attempts to put the anchor cable across the river. At 230310 the anchor cable was across the river but had become snagged in the darkness on some piling and was snapped in tightening.
c. By 230605 the anchor cable had been installed and lost five times due to mortar fire, boats over turning and collapse of the elevating A-frames. Enemy mortar and artillery fire was heavy and B Company had suffered six casualties although none serious. At 230635 an enemy self-propelled gun began firing at the bridge site and smoke was requested from higher headquarters. By 230710 the sixth cable was still in but three attempts at completing the footbridge had resulted in the current capsizing the bridge. At 230735 approximately six sections of the bridge was completed when the strain on the anchor cable bent the patented hold fasts. At this time we were instructed to cease operations and to reconstruct the footbridge near the one established by the division engineers. The requested smoke had not yet been furnished.
d. The bridge was then dismantled and reloaded and construction recommenced at 231200. Here again trouble was experienced with the current but by using a high anchor cable and a pre-installed tight bridle line the bridge was completed at 231830. As finally constructed it was 156' - 0” long. In addition to anchor and bridle lines a guy line was strung from the upstream end of the float in the higher velocity stream to a tree approximately 30' above water line. This current was later measured and found to be greater than 6 miles per hour.
5 OPERATIONS - TREADWAY BRIDGES.
a. Concurrent with the construction of the footbridge a Treadway bridge was being constructed across the ROER at SHOPHOVEN by another battalion. The river was subsiding and as there were indications that it would be practical to construct a treadway bridge at our site near PIER as soon as the initial treadway was completed, we were so instructed.
b. Consequently, a three span dry treadway was put in place across the canal on the near bank at wFO7155295. This was completed without incident at 231500 by A Company.
c. Because of the effort expended by B Company in the construction of the footbridge and the lack of time, the reserve company, C Company, was assigned the mission of installing the main treadway bridge and commenced installation at 232130. In the meantime A Company continued to construct and improve the near shore approach. The first trestle section was completed at 232250. The expected difficulty of getting the anchor cable across the swift stream ensued but the first floating section was in place at 240135.
d. Here difficulty arose because priority on the road net to the bridge site had been necessarily given to the “alligators” operated by another battalion. In fact, it was not until about 240600 that the next bridge truck reached the site. At 240815, the general site area was shelled by enemy medium artillery but without effect. At this time C Company was relieved by B Company. Construction preceded slowly because of the necessity of building by successive pontoons due to lack of adjacent sites. Enemy air was active but did not affect the construction. The 36' dry treadway across the canal on the far shore was completed at 240500 by taking the bridge trucks across the treadway bridge at SHOPHOVE N. This also enabled A Company to work on the far shore approach to the main bridge.
e. The main bridge (236'), combination of trestle and floating, was completed and opened for traffic at 241930. B Company was then relieved except for the necessary maintenance and guard.
f. Enemy air or shrapnel damaged three floats during the night of the 24th. Because the river was still falling these were replaced with two trestle sections without hindering traffic.
For heroic achievement and singleness of leadership in accomplishment of the assigned mission Lieutenant Colonel Dalrymple and Captain Davis were awarded Oak Leaf Clusters to their Bronze Star Medals per Section II, General Orders Number 36, Headquarters 30th Infantry Division dated 23 February 1945.
It was well known before the assault of the Roer commenced that the mission was to be a particularly dangerous one. As it turned out the mission was one of the most difficult operations the battalion had encountered. Approximately two weeks previously the Germans had blown the dam controlling the water of the river and as a consequence the Roer was a swollen raging torrent. The banks and surrounding ground became inundated. The road leading to the bridge site was also partially under water. In the face of these facts construction of the bridge was to proceed as scheduled. H-hour was set for 230330 February.
Preceding the construction of the bridge an artillery barrage was laid down by our forces. As soon as it lifted construction began. Before actual operations of the bridge could be instituted it was necessary that a picket holdfast be made and a bridle line cable for the footbridge be secured. This was to be installed on the far shore, At H-3 hours Corporal John E. Lowrey with 8 men left for the far shore in a specially designed assault boat. Paying out the bridle line cable as they rowed across the racing river they subsequently came under heavy mortar and artillery fire. The fire was beyond all description. The intensity of the fire was the heaviest yet encountered by the battalion. In spite of the fierceness of the enemy barrage the line was made secure. But in a matter of minutes enemy fire had severed the cable line. Corporal Lowrey immediately sent four men with the boat back to bring across another line. This left himself and three men on the far shore with no help from our forces on the near shore. Almost immediately intense mortar fire fell upon him and his men. Also sporadic rifle fire broke out. Not knowing where the fire was coming from Corporal Lowrey dispersed his men and posted two of them to act as security. The two men were Private First Class Knight and private Rhoden. However ensuing mortar fire caused Corporal Lowrey to call back the two men for fear of being hit by the shells. By this time shell fire was bracketing the whole area and as there was no cover all they could do was lie in the water covering the far shore. While lying in the water a shell landed close by and Knight and Private First Class Markette, the other man in the party, were hit. This was approximately 0230 in the morning. Private First Class Markette was hit in the legs and Private First Class Knight in the side. Because no boat had been able to make the far shore the men had to lie in the water until morning when a boat succeeded in getting across. All the men became numbed by the cold water and Corporal Lowrey did everything in his power to keep up the spirits of the men.
Meanwhile when the cable line had been severed the first time Captain Davis of Company B and Technician Grade Five Josefovsky started out in another boat to bring a new line across. While attempting to cross, the swiftness of the current proved too much and the boat capsized. Captain Davis was washed downstream and regained shore further down. Denying all help for himself he remained on the job to supervise the construction of the bridge. Technician Grade Five Josefovsky, seeing the need for more assistance, waded toward shore, remaining in the water holding the guy line until a boat reached the far shore with a third line. All this took place while under heavy artillery fire. Another attempt was made to cross the rebellious water by five men and that boat also capsized. Not until morning was a line able to be secured. Lieutenant Nicolai and three men Technician Grade Four Lindsay, Private First Class Kraughs, and Private First Class Lazor finally made the far shore. Kraughs, in the action involved, became a casualty. Lieutenant Nicolai inspired his men all night and the next day by completely disregarding safety for his person. With the cable line in, construction of the bridge began. The swiftness of the current made working conditions intolerable. Four times the footbridge was built and each time buckled under the fury of the current. It had been arranged for a smoke screen to cover the construction but the smoke was not forthcoming until two hours after the prearranged time. As a consequence the men worked in broad daylight under direct enemy observation. Mortar and artillery fire continued heavy and some casualties were sustained. Higher headquarters then ordered that the bridge be dismantled and started anew at another site. The same difficulties were encountered. This action again tested the tenacity of our men and officers, and again they proved themselves superior to the enemy. Every man performed outstandingly.
A treadway bridge built in conjunction with the foot bridge was completed without incident, in spite of occasional artillery fire, by elements of Company B. A Company had the mission of preparing the approaches to the bridge and sweeping the roads for mines. Company C, which was the reserve company, had started the treadway bridge, but because of delays beyond their control, Company B later completed it.
With the completion of the treadway bridge the next important problem was the clearance of road networks to the east. Maintenance of the roads was greatly hampered by dirty weather and heavy traffic tearing up the roads. With the bridge head firmly established troops fanned out and struck for the Rhine River. The battalion moved in close support maintaining roads and bridges, removing road blocks and generally facilitating the smooth passage of equipment and troops.
With our mission successfully accomplished the battalion moved to Inden (wFO28522), and from there across the Roer on 28 February to Steinstrass (wF120599). At Steinstrass Company A was assigned the mission of close support of the 113th Cavalry Reconnaissance Group. It’s mission was to support the XIX Corps boundary. The Company moved to Rodingen (wFl046W).
| Statistics on some of the
engineer work for the month of February were as follows:
Shovel operated 160 hours.
Graders motorized and towed operated 152 hours.
D-7 Dozers operated 170 hours.
R-4 Dozers operated 36 hours.
Air Compressors operated 148 hours.
Stone used 230 loads.
Cinders used 7 loads.
Rubble used 699 loads,
Gravel used 161 loads.
Mines destroyed 404
Corduroy road built 75 yards.
Water delivered 6495 gallons
Footbridge (Floating) constructed 150 feet
Footbridge (Fixed) constructed 108 feet.
Treadway bridge (Dry) constructed 72 feet.
Treadway bridge (Floating) constructed 236 feet.
Awards and decorations for the month were as follows:
Bronze Oak-Leaf Cluster to Bronze Star Medal per GO #36, Headquarters,
30th Infantry Division dtd 22 February 1945:
Lt Col J. C. Dalrymple O-303257
Capt John R. Davis O-1110450
Bronze Star Medal per GO #42, Headquarters, XIX Corps, dtd 22
S/Sgt Kenneth Keeth 18107835
Purple Hearts per GO #1, Headquarters, 82d Engineer Combat Battalion,
dtd 2 February 1945:
T/4 Robert J. Dimingue 38267555
Cp1 Wade H. Fleshman Jr 33531753
Pfc Frank A. Bannon 32296754
Pvt Roland D. Bailey 38340752
gains for the month were 30 enlisted men, and losses were 23 enlisted
men. Battalion strength as of 28 February 1945 was 29
officers 3 warrant officers and 594 enlisted men.
During the first part of March, while the enemy was being driven swiftly back across the Rhine, the battalion moved rapidly, clearing the main and alternate supply routes of mines, road blocks, and debris. Company A was relieved of support of the 113th Cavalry Reconnaissance Group, and Company B was placed on a six hour alert to join the group, should their assistance be needed to protect the right flank of the XIX Corps along the Erft Canal. The XIX Corps had made more extensive gains than did the VII Corps of the First Army to our right, thereby leaving an exposed flank. As the battalion was at Priestrath (wFI34776), Company B reverted to battalion control due to the cavalry not being committed and moving from Steinstrass joined the rest of the battalion an the 5th.
While clearing a gap through a mine field in the vicinity of Steinstrass, Private Vernon C. Back of Company C accidently stepped on a Schu mine which amputated the lower part of his left leg and severely fractured his right leg.
After the majority of enemy opposition had been eliminated in Krefeld, we were assigned the mission of clearing two traffic routes through the city and on the 4th and 5th, Company C worked with dozers and shovels to remove the rubble and debris that had been widely scattered by the frequent bombing and shelling. A similar mission was assigned in Neuss, and on the 10th, Company B began that task which was completed on the 16th.
With the fall of Frefeld and Neuss and the ultimate elimination of small pockets along the Rhine by early March, the XIX Corps troops were held along the river making plans and preparing for the crossing. Moving from Priestrath to Wattmannstrasse (wF190915) we were assigned a sector for road maintenance in the general vicinity of Neuss, Buttgen, Priestrath, Glehn, Luttenglehn, Loveling, Grefrath, Hoppers, and south along the Erft Canal. Motor patrol grader, skip loader, quickway shovel, and tar heater were obtained from the 611th Light Equipment Company to supplement our own equipment. Large amounts of tar and asphalt patching was done on the black-top roads, and chiefly on the road from Neuss leading to Julich. Heavy traffic throughout the entire area necessitated constant maintenance of existing roads and bridges and the construction of additional bridges and culverts.
Lieutenant Miller and his third Platoon of Company C, dismantled a bailey bridge across the Nord Canal near Kaarst at wF212923 and on the 10th, built a single span, class 40 bridge in it’s place. All the material had been gathered at the site on the two days previously so that the road could be open for traffic with the least possible delay. Another bridge, a double double bailey, was built across the Erft Canal south of Neuss at wF262845 and a culvert on the same road east of the bridge, by Company A and the 512th Engineer Light Pontoon Company, on 16 March, opened a north-south lateral road to traffic.
By verbal order of the Commanding General, Ninth United States Army, and further confirmed by paragraph 3, Special Orders Number 66, Headquarters XIX Corps, dated 13 March 1945, Lieutenant Colonel Dalrymple, battalion commander, left the battalion on 7 March 1945 to assume command of the 1117th Engineer Combat Group. Major Morris, formerly battalion executive officer assumed command of the battalion by General Orders Number 3, Headquarters, 82d Engineer Combat Battalion, dated 7 March 1945. Major Green, relieved of duty as operations officer (3-3) by Captain Davis of Company B, was assigned duty as battalion executive officer, and First Lieutenant Krebs was assigned command of Company B, all, per Special Orders Number 34, Headquarters, 82d Engineer Combat Battalion, dated 7 March 1945.
On the 9th of March a message was received from Headquarters, Ninth United States Army, appointing Warrant Officer Junior Grade Jim W. Warren the battalion assistant motor officer, and Technician Grade Four William N. Pellow. of the Medical Detachment, Second Lieutenants in the Army of the United States. The two officers were sworn in on the 10th and Lieutenant Warren, the fifth man of the battalion to receive a battlefield commission, was assigned duty as Motor Officer while Lieutenant Pellow, who received his commission in the Medical Administrative Corps was later assigned to the 83d Infantry Division by Special Orders Number 71, Headquarters Ninth United States Army, dated 12 March 1945.
Crossing the Rhine and the breakout
Although the battalion as a whole was not involved in the assault crossing of the Rhine, twenty-three enlisted men were placed on detached service with the 1153th Engineer Combat Group on 13 March 1945 for coordinated training with the infantry in assault river crossing. Working with the 258th Engineer Combat Battalion and elements of the 30th Infantry Division, much time was spent in training along the Meuse River near Stevensweer d, Holland, and when the time came for-the actual crossing all men were well oriented in the task they were assigned.
After darkness on the night of 23 March, the troops moved to an assembly area along the river and received their final briefing while last minute preparations were being made. At 2200, to the north of the assembly area for the American troops, the British forces began their preparatory artillery barrage as their assault was to come first. This barrage lasted for two hours and the flash from the guns was so constant that the sky was aflame at all times.
At 0100 on the morning of the 24th forty battalions of American artillery opened fire on known enemy installations on the far shore, and the general area of the assault. For one hour, this intense concentration of artillery fire pounded on the enemy shore, and at 0200 the troops loaded on boats manned by the engineers, and speeded to the heavily defended enemy shore.
Since there had been several mock crossings at different points up and down the river, the enemy had not fully realized that the attack had begun until the third wave of boats neared the far shore. The boat operated in the third wave by Corporal Jacquet and Private First Class Hemingway, both of Company A. was caught in a hail of fire which put it out of action and the infantrymen were forced to wade to shore. The two men stayed in the water with their boat for an hour before they could move it on into shore. Technician Grade Five Josefovsky of Company B, also operating one of the boats of the third wave, ran into heavy fire as he reached the far shore. Coming almost directly into a machine gun position, his boat was struck by a hall of bullets and a direct hit killed his motor. As he assisted the infantrymen out of the boat so they could wade a shore, he did not notice the fire that had started on his motor when the gas tank was hit by a bullet. The rapidly spreading flame threatened to burn his boat out from under him. Removing his jacket he succeeded in smothering the fire before it caused too much damage and then, with the help of his engineer assistants, began paddling back to the near shore and out of range of the ever increasing small arms fire. Another returning boat took him in tow and brought him safely back.
After the four assault waves had landed on the far shore and an initial bridgehead was established, “Alligators” and Naval “LCVP’s, began their operations in transporting troops, equipment, and supplies while the assault boats stood by, should it become necessary to use them again. Later in the evening the heavier craft could not handle all the traffic so our men began ferry service for the evacuation of wounded and prisoners.
After the bridgehead was established, the XIX Corps troops moved to an assembly area west of Wessel, in preparation for their mission of “Exploiting the bridgehead" and "Pursuing the enemy”. For this mission we were given the assignment of close support of the Second Armored Division, and on 28 March we moved north to the vicinity of Altfeld (rA155275) where the 992d Engineer Treadway Bridge Company (less one platoon), and one platoon of the 512th Engineer Light Pontoon Company plus a quickway shovel and motor patrol grader from the 611th Engineer Light Equipment Company, were attached for operational purposes. Remaining in this area until early morning, we joined the division convoy and at 1250 on the 29th we crossed the Rhine River at Wessel, Germany, and moved to a bivouac area near Paddenburg at rA287407. From there we moved early the next morning to an area near Hullern (rA695504).
Meanwhile, the division had moved up to the Dortmund-Ems Canal, opposite Ludinghausen, only to find that all bridges across the canal had been blown. The battalion was assigned the mission of bridging the canal, and after reconnaissance was made of possible sites, it was decided to construct a double-double bailey over an existing, partially demolished bridge. Company A with the platoon of the 512th was assigned the construction and moved to the area to wait until a bridgehead was established by the infantry.
After an artillery barrage at 1400 the afternoon of the 30th, a battalion of the 41st Armored Infantry Regiment of the Second Armored Division, crossed the existing bridge, and secured the initial bridgehead. Company A moved up shortly with the bridge trucks, and began their operations.
Considerable difficulty in the form of enemy artillery fire and the condition of the site was experienced during the construction and launching. The road leading to the existing bridge was on a fill to bring it up to the level of the high, built up banks on either side of the river. On the near shore it curved sharply at the bridge, leaving only 50 feet on which to assemble the parts. Also, the existing bridge, a steel truss structure, was only three inches wider than the bailey bridge transoms. This necessitated the use of guy lines on the launching nose until it reached the far shore and then it became necessary to jack against the existing trusses each time the bridge was advanced. In spite of all the difficulties, the bridge was completed by 0400 on the 31st, and the armor advanced across at 0432.
That same day, 31 March, the battalion moved to Ascheberg (rA941560) trailing closely behind the combat elements to give them engineer support as it was needed.
|Awards and decorations for the month of
March were as follows:
For heroic achievement during the crossing of the Roer River on 23 and 24 February 1945, the following decorations were awarded:
SILVER STAR MEDAL
Corporal John E. Lowrey ASN 32831513
BRONZE STAR MEDAL (OAK-LEAF CLUSTER)
Major Edgar L. Green ASN O-286812
1st Lt Henry B. Nicolai ASN O-1111809
BRONZE STAR MEDAL
1st Lt Frank W. Krebs Jr ASN O-1101532
T/Sgt Irving L. Jaret ASN 32787413
T/5 Henry L. Josefovsky ASN 13130716
Pfc Andy Lazor Jr ASN 33680112
Pfc James D. Salvato ASN 32786854
Pvt Kenneth C. Yost ASN 33554196
For meritorious service in France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany, from 29 August 1944 to 1 February 1945, Captain Walter L. Anderson was, awarded an Oak-Leaf Cluster to his Bronze Star Medal Per General Orders Number 70, Headquarters XIX Corps, dated 20, March 1945.
PURPLE HEART (OAK-LEAF CLUSTER)
Per General orders Number 2, Headquarters, 82d Engineer Combat Battalion dated 3 March 1945:
Corporal Robert L. Donnelly ASN 33427833
Per General orders Number 2, Headquarters, 82d Engineer Combat Battalion, dated 3 March 1945.
1st/Sgt Charles E. Goodall ASN 35402235
Pfc Hilory C. Crapps ASN 34688340
Pfc John A. Krauhs ASN 35175114
Pfc Leonard J. Stratchko ASN 33489148
Pvt Jack Weinman ASN 32724664
Per General Orders Number 5, Headquarters, 82d Engineer Combat Battalion, dated 11 March 1945.
Pfc Joel H. Butler ASN 33539801
GOOD CONDUCT MEDALS
As shown on the enclosed copy of General Orders Number 4, Headquarters, 82d Engineer Combat Battalion, dated 8 March 1945.
Statistics of some of the engineer work for the month of March were as follows:
Shovel operated 120 hours.
Patrol and towed grader operated 224 hours.
Skip-loader operated 136 hours.
D-7 operated 306 hours,
Stone used 336 leads.
Rubble used 897 leads.
Gravel used 513 loads.
Water distributed 348,7l0 gallons.
Bridge (fixed) constructed 40 feet.
Bridge (floating) constructed 280 feet.
Prisoners taken 17
Personnel gains for the month were 56 enlisted men, and two officers who had received direct appointments. Losses amounted to 27 enlisted men and two officers, Lt Col Dalrymple transferred to 1117th Engineer Combat Group and Lt Mayeux transferred to 247th Engineer Combat Battalion. Battalion strength as of 31 March 1945 was 28 offices, 2 warrant officers, and 621 enlisted men.
ROSTER OF OFFICERS
Major James L. Morris Jr O-453277 Commanding Officer
Major Edgar L. Green Jr O-286812 Executive Officer
Captain John R. Davis O-1110450 S-3
Captain Thomas A. Barry O-414994 S-4
Captain John E. Tracy O-405751 S-2
1st Lt Cassy V. Santochi O-1109646 ADE
1st Lt Wilbert L. White O-520562 Rcn Officer
1st Lt Gerald J. Williams O-1116031 Adjutant
Headquarters and Service Company
1st Lt Stephen C. Ransom O-1109610 Co Comdr
2d Lt Jim W. Warren O-2010871 MTO
CWO Elmer R. Lundgren W-2121163 Asst S-4
WOJG Marvin Q. Silver W-2121168 Pers officer
Captain William H. Corrin O-1110430 Co Comdr
1st Lt William K. Sittig Jr O-1690813 Adm officer
2d Lt Chester U. Davison Jr O-1645742 Platoon Ldr
2d Lt William H. Nichols O-1996618 Platoon Ldr
2d Lt Ollie (NMI) Miller O-1996617 Platoon Ldr
1st Lt Frank W. Krebs Jr O-1101532 Co Comdr
1st Lt Henry B. Nicolai O-1111809 Adm officer
1st Lt Preston (NMI) Stewart O-887394 Platoon Ldr
2d Lt Winfred H. Downs O-1996548 Platoon Ldr
2d Lt Clarence J. Wright O-544304 Platoon Ldr
Captain Walter L. Anderson O-1111301 Co Comdr
2d Lt George E. Wagner O-1312496 Adm Officer
1st Lt Henry G. Heller O-1116381 Platoon Ldr
1st Lt John J. Donnelly O-1557834 Platoon Ldr
Captain Emanuel U. Oxman O-385206 Bn Surgeon
Captain Clarence T. Cates O-1111544
2nd Lt George A Vuksta O-1116140
in close support of the Second Armored Division driving eastward at a
fast pace we were on the move almost daily, stopping for the most part,
just long enough to clear road-blocks and trash from roads, and catch a
little sleep at nights. During their rapid retreat the enemy had
little time to prepare extensive obstacles and their resistance
consisted only of isolated pockets. Prisoners were many and as we
would move into an area they would come out of hiding to surrender.
They were a varied lot with a defeatist attitude and remained to
surrender after their unit had withdrawn.
With the encirclement of the industrial Ruhr River area, the XIX Corps troops began pushing in two directions. One prong speeding toward the East and Berlin, and another into the Ruhr pocket. This action necessitated a separation of the engineer groups with the 1115th supporting the southern drive and the 1104th an armored drive to the east. Since we were far ahead to the east we were operationally attached to the 1104th Engineer Combat Group on 4 April and remained with them until 10 May when we were relieved and reassigned to the 1115th Engineer Combat Group.
At the Weser River
Until we reached the Weser River on the 5th, our bivouacs were merely short stops on the road to Berlin. We moved to Oelde (rB282586) on the 1st and to Kaunitz (rB578654) on the 2d. In this area Company C cleared several road blocks on the highway from Hastenbeck to Oerlinghausen to Mirchdorf and removed debris from the roads and ditches. From Kaunitz we moved to Lemgo (rB796813) on the 4th and on the 5th to Grass Berkel (rC073866) where we were assigned the mission of bridging the Weser.
Company B and the 992d Engineer Treadway Bridge Company moved into Grohnde in the middle of the afternoon where the 82d Reconnaissance Squadron was out posting the town. Reconnaissance parties proceeded to the rivers edge to find the far shore occupied by the enemy. Questioning of the civilians in the town revealed that a company of Germans had just been ferried across. Since no help could be expected from the Infantry and the bridge was needed without delay, elements of Company B and the bridge company began a fire fight from the near shore. In a short time the enemy was fleeing from their positions. A volunteer patrol then crossed the river and collected 26 prisoners, five of whom had been wounded by our fire.
Preliminary work was then begun on the bridge and a stone arch-way at the site was partially demolished to allow traffic to pass through it. The banks were marshy so a Summerfeld-mat hard standing was constructed for the crane, on the near shore.
Infantry troops could not be obtained immediately to contain the bridgehead so two platoons of Company A were ferried across the river to hold the defensive positions held by men of Company B. At 1830, elements of the 41st Armored Infantry of the Second Armored Division relieved Company A, who in turn assisted in the completion of the bridge.
Since much of the construction was done at night "artificial moonlight" was furnished by supporting searchlight units. The bridge was completed by morning and Combat Command B of the division proceeded across to pursue the fleeing enemy.
During the operation, Private Edward J. Beall ASN 33554092, of Company B, fell off the bridge and drowned. All efforts to save him or to recover the body were in vain.
On the same day, 5 April, the 1104th Engineer Combat Group assigned us the mission of bridging the Weser at Hameln. This was to be a heavy pontoon bridge furnished by the 544th Heavy Pontoon Battalion. Company C was assigned this task and two platoons joined the bridge company in the assembly area near the bridge site. Construction was began that night but during the early morning the following day, construction was halted by enemy small arms and mortar fire. Three men of Company C and one of Company A were slightly wounded during the skirmish.
All day on the 6th the enemy continued to resist on the far shore and every attempt to further the construction was bitterly opposed by small arms and mortar fire. It was decided to wait until a bridgehead was established on the opposite shore before making further attempts at construction, and on the morning of the 7th after the Infantry cleared the town of Hameln, work was resumed and the bridge opened to traffic at 1830 that evening.
While Company C was assisting in the construction, Company A was given the mission of building an approach on the near shore. Since this was a more extensive project than expected, the two platoons of Company C after completing the bridge were detailed to assist Company A. By working all night the 600 yard approach was completed by 0900 the next morning.
The battalion, less the elements of Companies A and C still working on the river, moved to Banteln (rC3988), on the Leine River on the 7th. During our stay in this area there were many activities to perform that split the battalion up into many small missions. One platoon of Company A reloaded the treadway bridge company's trucks at the engineer dump one platoon guarded and maintained the treadway bridge at Grohnde, while the other platoon constructed the approaches to the pontoon bridge at Hameln. One platoon of Company B loaded floating Bailey bridge equipment at Blomberg, while one platoon guarded prisoners of war. In addition to constructing the pontoon bridge, one platoon of Company C was used to construct the far shore approach to this same bridge. In addition, road blocks were removed in the area, Company C cleared a route through Hildesheim and removed a treadway bridge from Harsum.
After all loose ends were gathered together and the battalion was intact we moved to Nette (rC6148) on the 9th and then to Schladen (rC09284) on the 11th. Between moves there were several missions of clearing roads and generally maintaining the main supply route.