Photos, Articles, & Research on the European Theater in World War II
This is one of a series of G.I. Stories of the Ground, Air and Service Forces in the European Theater of Operations, issued by the Orientation Section, Information and Education Division, ETOUSA... Major General Harry J. Malony, commanding the 94th Infantry Division, lent his cooperation, and basic material was supplied by his staff.
It is my prejudiced but well-founded belief that the three actions of smashing the Siegfried Switch Line — clearing the Saar-Moselle Triangle which culminated in the capture of Trier — forcing the Saar River bridgehead, and the
I congratulate you on the record you have established. The road to victory has been considerably shortened by your proved fighting capabilities and the will to win.
THE STORY OF THE 94th INFANTRY DIVISION
The entire division was in on the kill. The 301st, 302nd and 376th Inf. Regts.; 319th Engrs., 94th Recon Troop, 319th Medics, and division headquarters' Defense Platoon, pooled efforts to smash the Switch Line, guarding Third Army's lane to the heart of Germany.
The three regiments jumped off promptly at 0400. Withheld to add surprise to the doughs' attack, artillery broke loose 30 seconds later with the first of 15,000 shells which bombarded Germans that day.
On the left, the 376th pulled stakes near roofless Sinz and struck east through Adenholz Woods, getting protection on its left flank from the Recon Troop, Defense Platoon and members of the 465th AAA Bn., serving as foot-troops. In the center, the 301st took off from Butzdorf and headed northeast across the ridge line running between Borg and Munzingen. On the right, the 302nd began work on pillboxes between Borg and Oberleuken, then struck north and east.
Germans, who had defended the area with all the tenacity of Nazi fanaticism, wilted before the 94th's unleashed power. Surprise was complete. The attack gained momentum with every yard advanced. Second Lt. Rollin Voit (then S/Sgt.), Appleton, Wis., described the going through the Adenholz Woods: "The marching fire demonstration put on by our doughs was a thing of weird beauty. The men seemed to forget about mines or opposing fire as they kept their
Mine fields as thick as a GI loaf of bread fronted the 301st but the orders were to advance. To the men of Baker and Charlie Cos. there was a job to be done; they did it. Second Lt. Howard Johnson, Athens, III., who joined the division the previous day and advanced from platoon leader to company commander in a matter of minutes said: "The Kraut artillery and mortars were adding to the misery caused by the mines, but I reckon you can say that we just got mad and my men headed directly into the fields and made it. We realized that once the high ground of the ridge was taken, the job would be licked, and the artillery silenced for the lack of observation."
In the 302nd area, Capt. Thomas A. Beard, Chicago, Ill., Able Co. CO, led his unit in knocking out remaining pillboxes. Direct fire from TDs and frontal charges by the doughs wiped out the obstacles. The regiment drove ahead on its way to the Saar River.
By nightfall, Munzingen and Keblingen had fallen to the 301st, the 302nd had taken Oberleuken and Faha, the 376th had established a base for the next day's operation. Eight hundred and seventy-two prisoners had been dragged from pillboxes, bunkers, machine gun nests and sniper holes. The Germans had been beaten on their own ground, their steel and concrete shelters twisted into blackened wreckage, their mine fields nullified by American doughs.
Next day, 376th and Recon Troop were attached to the 10th Armd. Div. to clear the way for the tanks. The Recon Troop and headquarters' Defense Platoon captured Thorn after a sharp
To the east, Lt. Col. Francis Martin's 2nd Bn., 376th, launched an attack against Kreuzwiler and in two hours knocked out the town. Other battalions of the 376th resumed battering remaining fortifications of the Switch Line. By the time the tanks came charging up, the path was cleared. Tankers and 376th continued pushing up the western part of the triangle.
Headed for the Saar, the 301st and 302nd swept aside all opposition. Hilly terrain offered Germans a good spot for artillery and anti-tank guns in covering roads and likely routes of approach, but doughfeet were determined to reach the Saar and artillery guns weren't going to stop them. One squad of the 301st knocked out six 88s and their crews in a stretch of 200 yards. At the day's end, Kollesleuken and Freudenburg had fallen to the 301st, Weiten to the 302nd, and a task force commanded by Lt. Col. John W. Caddis, Olney, Ill., composed of the 1st Bn., 301st, and 3rd Bn., 302nd, practically erased Orscholz from the map, thus squaring 1st Bn.'s account with the village. The attack hit Orscholz from the north and the pillboxes which guarded the town's southern approaches were useless. For the division, the day represented a 4000 yard gain on a 5000 yard front.
Taking advantage of the enemy's confusion and disorganization, the 94th drove the remaining 5000 yards to the banks of the Saar. The 301st and 302nd captured Taben, Rodt, Hamm, Kastel, Stadt, Trassem, Perdenbach, and Keuchingen, and cleared the fortified area south of Orscholz. Some pillbox commanders elected to add the direct fire of 155s to their daily ration, but couldn't stomach the incoming iron.
Smashing the Siegfried Switch Line
Division artillery liaison pilots took exception to the idea that bridges were the only means of supplying infantrymen. Maj. Arnold W. Samuels, Columbus, Ohio, Ass't
Throughout the afternoon and into the night, Cubs flew over the site as pilots shoved equipment from windows of the tiny planes at 20-foot levels. Although it was the first night flying for some pilots, all landings were made without mishap.
Despite the lack of bridging facilities, the 302nd had two battalions across at Taben and had begun the rugged operation of scaling almost sheer cliffs, peppered with pillboxes, sniper positions and raked by enemy fire. The 301st shoved across one battalion and by nightfall had cleared half the town of Serrig. A house-to-house scrap raged from the river's edge to the top of the ridge east of Serrig. Pillboxes camouflaged as houses opened up at point-blank range, and machine gun and artillery fire splattered the entire area. Doughs who "mouseholed" their way completely through the town got their first look at it in the daytime from the ridge.
In four days of hammer-like blows, the 94th, along with the 10th Armd., had smashed the Siegfried Switch Line, had cleared completely all resistance in the Saar-Moselle triangle, and had wedged a hole in the main Siegfried Line on the east bank of the Saar. The total PW count for the three regiments was 2117. Maj. Gen. Harry J. Malony, Division Commander, was awarded the Bronze Star by Lt. Gen. (then Maj. Gen.) Walton H. Walker, XX Corps Commander, in recognition of his troops' fighting qualities and the planning behind the attack.
With engineers throwing up bridges as fast as the equipment could be moved in, the division began clearing the way for the attack on Trier, key communications city at the junction of the Saar and Moselle rivers. Third Bn., 301st, and 1st Bn., 302nd, mopped up Serrig by Feb. 23 and three more battalions crossed the river to take up the fight.
Doughs continued to use assault boats and a footbridge to make crossings. To protect troops advancing north from Taben, 1st Bn., 301st, took up positions along Hocherberg Ridge, on the south flank of the division. Despite an extended front and strong enemy artillery the battalion held the line to permit the two bridgeheads to link. For two days these infantrymen fought without transportation or tank destroyer support.
Meanwhile, the 376th again prepared to blast the way for tanks. Near Ockfen, the regiment established a bridgehead by the use of assault boats and began elimination of the fortified area protecting approaches to Trier. Two hundred and ninety pillboxes were destroyed, 155 captured in a 10 square mile area, and the towns of Ockfen, Schoen, Kommelingen, Wiltingen and half of Beurig were captured.
One shot was all that was needed by 2nd Bn., commanded by Major Thomas E. Kelley, to take Wiltingen. The major called upon Psychological Warfare to see if the Germans would listen to verbal reasoning as well as the lead variety as the battalion approached the town. Setting up loudspeakers, the announcer, Sgt. Richard Ury, San Mateo, Calif., told Germans to show signs of surrender with white flags if they wanted the town spared and sought to escape annihilation.
Silence and inactivity were the only results until two Germans made a break from a pillbox. A direct hit on the escaping Nazis from a TD gun brought out a flurry of white flags from pillboxes and house windows. Civilians dashed for the town church as directed. Doughs marched into Wiltingen without further shooting.
Tanks of the 10th Armd. Div., racing behind the swift-moving infantry, crossed over the Saar on 94th bridges, then pounded along to the southern edge of Trier after the 376th had taken the last bridge over the Moselle intact. Doughs moved on to the city's north side.
Once the route to Trier was cleared and the south flank anchored, the 94th began expanding the bridgehead eastward. Paschal, Hentern, Lampaden, Obersehr, Pellingen and Zerf fell to the 301st and 302nd as the 376th returned to the division March 3 in time to help repel a pair of counter-attacks which caused the Germans heavy casualties. One counter-thrust, paced by the enemy's 6th SS Mountain Div., penetrated the 94th's lines to effect the most serious threat to the bridgehead.
East of Lampaden, troops of Lt. Col. Otto Cloudt's 2nd Bn., 302nd, were cut off but rallied to all but annihilate the Germans. Sgt. Woodrow Boyett, Wetumpka, Ala., 356th FA Bn. liaison section, was taken prisoner while checking a phone line during the breakthrough. For two days Boyett administered aid to more than 25 GIs who had been caught in ambush, destroyed the gun sight on a tank the Germans wanted to use, dared the fluid situation to attempt a truce to evacuate the wounded. He then feigned a wound as Germans withdrew so he could bring back two truckloads of his comrades.
Ten Days to the Rhine
Despite stubborn resistance, which was the Germans' last stand west of the Rhine, the twin drives roared ahead. Two days later, enemy resistance began to crack as the 301st and 302nd registered gains of six miles, overrunning Schillingen, Kell, Gusenburg and Reinsfeld.
The 94th began spearheading the Third and Seventh Armies' drive to the Rhine March 16. A huge pincers movement developed as Third A1rmy forces swept down from the XII Corps bridgehead to the north while the Seventh crashed forward from Alsace-Lorraine. In the center, striking due east, was the 94th. Remaining German defenses crumbled before the might of 13 American divisions.
When the 94th jumped off from the Saar bridgehead it set out to clear the way for the 12th Armd. Div., waiting in the rear. But once the 302nd and 301st cracked German resistance, the infantry stayed ahead of the tanks. Bumming rides on trucks and on anything that moved, 302nd doughs chased the Germans all the way to the Rhine before the tanks finally caught up. The 376th, which had relieved the 301st at Birkenfeld, raced forward eight days before the armor went through its lines on the outskirts of Ludwigshafen.
March 15 to 22 was a hectic week for the division. Germans were in full retreat; the 94th was in full chase. Time and again, artillery was forced to pass up targets because ammunition trains couldn't keep pace with the drive. The 94th Recon Troop, operating on the south flank, bagged seven towns and more than 800 PWs in one day. Roads leading west were jammed with Germans, the bulk of the 13,434 prisoners, some unescorted, who surrendered during the 10 days. Villages and towns were a maze of white flags. In some towns, residents tore down roadblocks to make two-lane traffic for overtaxed supply lines.
A combat command of an armored division stopped at the entrance to one town and told Division Provost Marshal, Maj. James P. Gwynn, Tallahassee, Fla., that he'd better get out of the way because tanks were prepared to blast the town to pieces. The major hurriedly explained that the town had been taken two days previously by the 94th. The explanation brought a cease fire order.
The division CP moved once a day in an effort to keep pace with doughs, but it was of no use. About the time engineers would issue one set of maps, a call from the 302nd or 376th would set division to worrying where the next set was coming from. First Lt. George V. Lambert, New York City, executive officer for Charley Btry., 356th FA Bn., surprised his cannoneers by giving an "action rear" order near Baumholder to knock out a pocket, one of many formed by the multi-pronged attack.
Cooks at division headquarters mess had their worries, too. "Queenie," mascot of the beans and potatoes boys had just given birth to an eight-pup litter at Burg-Heid and the men feared the pups wouldn't stand the day-to-day jumps. But all eight and the mother made out. Pups were named for each town taken. Pfcs Richard Maitlen, Muncie, Ind., and Edward Maryanovich, Superior, Wis., Gen. Malony's orderlies, captured five PWs during a convoy break.
Maj. Frank Bayles, Salt Lake City, Ass't G-5, attached himself to the 376th in order to keep military government up with the advance. When he asked the burgomaster at Oggersheim for an interpreter, a 21-year-old brunette from Brooklyn turned up for the job. The major was almost ready to believe the story about the tunnel under the Rhine.
Climax of 195 consecutive days of combat for the 94th was the capture of the industrial city of Ludwigshafen, one of Germany's prize chemical producing centers, by a task force under Brig. Gen. Henry B. Cheadle, Ass't Division Commander. The task force consisted of the 376th and a combat command of the 12th Armd. Div., aided later by the 301st. Buttoning up of the city with its block-long buildings, concealed anti-tank guns and cellar strongholds required 24 hours. Gen. Cheadle announced the fall of the city at 0800 March 24 although scattered resistance remained.
In 33 fighting days, from Feb. 19 to March 24, the 94th had moved 123 miles, taken more than 17,000 PWs, broken the Siegfried Switch Line, breached the main Siegfried Line by establishing a bridgehead over the Saar River and then smashed 85 miles to the Rhine.
On D Plus 94, 94th Goes to War
Because Fort Custer offered neither artillery ranges nor areas large enough for division maneuvers, the cadre moved to Camp Phillips, Kansas, in November. First fillers arrived Dec. 6 and troops from all over the country poured in at the rate of 1000 a day, as the usual turmoil of fitting men into the Army almost spoiled Christmas. However, Gem Malony directed that the holiday be observed and the service and officers' clubs were a galaxy of color and Santa Clauses.
A swirling snowstorm greeted the opening of basic training Dec. 28. Two years later, almost to the day, the 94th stepped into the Western Front and the McCoy with targets and sights obscured by snow, a situation in which the first training the division received stood it in good stead.
Camp Phillips proved it could be just as hot as it was cold when summer and dust replaced winter and slush. A division review in honor of the late Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair, then Army Ground Forces Commander, in June, 1943, resulted in the reviewing officers and spectators being unable to see the marching troops because of a dust storm.
But there was one nice thing about Camp Phillips. Most young artillery officers amazed Gen. Fortier with their uncanny judgments of range until the general realized the tree-lines used by Kansas homesteaders to measure off mile-square tracts were better than rangefinders for getting a bead on a target.
In July the division moved to the Tennessee Maneuver Area. By fall the Italian campaign was going full blast and the need for trained reinforcements was desperate. The division sent 1500 men to POEs on the first call and later another 500. Despite the loss of its best-trained troops, the division and regimental staff officers were commended for the actions of the division during the remaining maneuver problems.
Other than the loss of so many men, maneuvers were the usual rat-race of working on a problem from Monday through Thursday or Friday, followed by a brief holiday in Nashville or Chattanooga. River crossing training was to come in handy later in the Saar and Ruwer river attacks.
With maneuvers over and POE rumors bandied about, the 94th shifted to Camp Forrest, Tenn., to facilitate the movement of troops to transportation centers for the initial furloughs.
In December, the 94th moved to Camp McCain, Miss., 100 miles south of Memphis, for an extensive post-maneuver training program. Rain, mud, heat and dust were ideal for training for combat's lack of comfort. But when it came time to leave McCain for the POE, the boys said the hardest part of the deal was trying to get to Memphis before all the hotel rooms, bottled goods and steaks were gone. Also, trying to sleep in the unheated cars of the Illinois Central Special back to camp Monday mornings was good training for the 30 days some members of the division spent on Liberty ships in crossing the Channel from Southampton to Utah Beach.
While at Camp McCain, the 94th was selected by the War Department to experiment on the six-gun artillery battery. For five months the division worked on all problems with the six-gun batteries, but orders for overseas movement came before results of the training could be evaluated, requiring a large part of the artillery to be shipped out. However, the division benefitted by gaining specially trained NCOs.
A large part of the training at McCain involved combat team tactics, with emphasis on the individual. With the announcement of the Expert Infantryman Badge regulations, the regiments concentrated on qualifying as many as possible. With the 376th first under the wire, all three regiments qualified for Expert Infantry Regiment, making the 94th the first in the Army to be an "Expert" division. The presentation of regimental, battalion and company streamers was held July 15, 1943, in the last division review held in the States.
Preceded by an advance party, the 94th departed from Camp McCain and headed for the POE, during the week of July 22. With a couple of shots in the arm, the division took advantage of the lag at the POE to see New York City.
Signal Corps photographers made a pictorial record of the division being processed through the POE, and in January, 1945, Collier's Magazine depicted how an outfit says goodbye to the States. The division sailed Aug. 6, debarking in Scotland Aug. 12.
After three weeks in England the 94th sailed for France. Throughout September, 1944, the Channel was unusually rough, and every kind of craft was used to transport the elements of the division. Div. Hq., 94th Recon Troop, and staff of the 301st went ashore Sept. 6 after a week spent on the Channel. For as long as a month later, some units of the division were lying off Utah Beach, munching C-rations, lacking smokes, hoping for a chance to land.
On D plus 94, the 94th piled ashore on Normandy's Utah Beach. Gen. Patton's Third Army was loose and headed for the German border; the British had smashed through Belgium and parts of Holland. Shore MPs hollered "Army of Occupation," but grinning doughs paid no attention. There was fighting to be done in the direction of Germany and they knew they had been well-trained for it.
Far from the main brunt of the fighting was a sector in which the Germans hadn't been eliminated; it was in this direction the 94th headed.
First Assignment: The "Forgotten" Front
This assignment fell to the 94th, and it wasn't long before the division found itself in the midst of a strange type of warfare. Taking over the job previously handled by the 83rd Inf. and the 6th Armd. Divs. on a loose front, the 94th had to establish its own front lines, sweat out a low priority on supplies, and figure out a way to best fight 60,000 Germans and cover 450 air-line miles of front with one division.
Gen. Malony established his "forgotten" front by putting Brig. Gen. Louis J. Fortier, Div Arty Commander, in charge of the Lorient pocket. Brig. Gen. Henry B. Cheadle took over the St. Nazaire sector. Gen. Malony set up headquarters at Chateaubriant, and the complete pocketing of the Germans inside the "flak" cities was begun.
With the bulk of the German artillery concentrated in the Lorient sector, and because of suitable terrain, Gen. Fortier had the 301st, 356th and 390th FA Bns. with him to back up the 301st Inf. and, for most of the time, a battalion of the 302nd Inf.
Faced with a wide perimeter, Gen. Cheadle deployed the 376th and 302nd Infs. to the best advantage in the St. Nazaire sector, with the 919th FA Bn. providing the bulk of the big gun support.
The 94th Recon Troop was assigned the job of maintaining contact with the two sectors and keeping watch over sea traffic between the pockets by manning an island outpost under top secrecy for more than three months.
Faced with the long front and thin lines, the 94th was in no position for large-scale operations. However, the patrolling and counter-battery kept forces of both sides on constant edge.
Typical of the fighting was the stand put up by Pfc Dale Proctor, Omaha, Nebr., 301st. Manning an OP as a forward observer, he was mortally wounded while adjusting fire on a German patrol. Although hit by shrapnel, Proctor placed effective fire on Germans, then called his platoon CP with, "Sarge, you'd better send an aid man up here in a hurry. Someone's badly hurt." He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously.
Pfc Herbert Austin, Indianapolis, 301st, was acting as point for his squad on patrol near Pont Scarf when machine guns opened up. Austin grabbed a sub-machine gun and charged three nests with an abandon which won him the admiration of his buddies and a DSC.
S/Sgt. Edward Love, Indianapolis, supply sergeant with the 94th Recon Troop, was on his way to relieve an outpost manning the ocean lookout when Germans stormed the site. As his lightly-armed French naval craft approached the island, German E-boats set fire to and sank the boat. Although wounded, the sergeant fed ammunition to a French sailor who continued to fire the 37mm gun as the boat settled in shallow water. Loye was taken prisoner and spent seven days in a German hospital before he was released by the Germans "on credit" pending a prisoner exchange scheduled for Dec. 28.
Special Troops really earned the title in the Brittany campaign. The 94th Signal Co., which had to beg or borrow operational equipment when the division first landed, because of unloading delays in the Channel, set up and maintained more than 2000 miles of lines, utilizing U.S., French and German equipment. Message center jeeps qualified for so many
The 94th QM Co. had a terrific job. Establishing two railheads, then adding a third to meet increased demands, the division was supplied quickly and efficiently, despite the handicaps of decreased personnel and transportation. A central ammunition dump located near Vannes was able to keep the various units supplied without line outfits using their own transportation. The truck platoon hauled supplies, switched troops to reserve areas and moved into the line, displaced command posts, travelled hundreds of miles for ammunition, wherever it could be found. Most of the vehicles passed the 15,000-mile mark before requiring repairs.
The 319th Engrs. was split to give support to both pockets. Able Co. went to Gen. Fortier's Lorient pocket. H & S, Baker and Charlie Cos. joined Gen. Cheadle at St. Nazaire. Heavy traffic over the light-surfaced Brittany roads and the constant rain required continuous work by the engineers. When the 3rd Bn., 301st, launched the attack on Quiberon Peninsula to split the German lines, Able Co. performed excellently in clearing thick mine fields so doughs could make their three-pronged charge on the fortifications.
The 319th Medical Bn. also was required to divide equipment and personnel when it established two clearing stations to serve the sectors. One station operated near Nozay; the second set up shop in the vicinity of Plouay. Long channels of evacuation made it necessary for equipment, such as ambulances, to be in tip-top shape at all times; not once did the equipment fail. Company aid men became accustomed to hauling wounded as far as three miles on a stretcher.
Behind all this, command staffs worked night and day to keep operations smooth. There wasn't a single T/O or T/E in the division that applied to the situation. French guerrillas who wanted to be soldiers needed supplies and training; the French civilian population presented problems due to refugees and bombed-out public utilities; the rapidity of underground communication necessitated unceasing vigilance.
Gen. Malony constantly was faced with the threat of an attempt by the Nazis to join the two pockets. Map disposition pins which should have represented regiments signified battalions and even companies. The reserve battalion was just as likely to be 75 miles away as 25 miles in case of need.
However, when the division finished 111 days of combat in Brittany, the two pockets had been very thoroughly pinned up. Blain and several other French towns had been liberated to ease the civilian situation. Twenty-nine battalions of French infantry had been trained and uniformly equipped to help in the defense of the area. Several thousand new German graves represented the fighting qualities of the 94th against overwhelming odds.
The 94th — Victory Team
Southeast of Luxembourg City, itself endangered by Rundstedt's wild gamble, Germans had thrown up what came to be known as the Siegfried Switch Line to protect the bulge of the German border and to act as a buffer to the main Siegfried Line east of the Saar River.
Beginning near Wies and Nennig on the Moselle river, running through Sinz, Butzdorf, Tettingen and Oberleuken in the center of Triangle and extending to Orscholz, the southern hinge, the Switch Line was a maze of pillboxes, bunkers, shelters, communication trenches, anti-tank ditches, mine fields, zeroed-in forests and dragon's teeth. Snowdrifts and frozen ground added to the doughs' problems. Artillerymen often had to heat breechblocks to fire.
The division was ordered to dig in and sit tight as the main effort of Gen. Eisenhower's forces concentrated on eliminating the bulge. All along the Western Front Allied lines had been pulled back to offset the effects of the German counter-offensive, thus cutting down the prospects of another Nazi drive.
By Jan. 7 the division had taken up positions along a line that included Dreisbach, Nohn, Mittel, Hellendorf, Borg, Wochern, to Besch. The 376th occupied the left zone along the Moselle and the 301st the right. The 302nd Combat Team returned to the division Jan. 10 after assisting the 28th Inf. Div. in manning defensive positions in northeastern France.
With the bulge whipped, Gen. Patton's Third Army began a series of limited objective attacks along the Army front to probe for possible routes of an all-out offensive. The 376th launched the first attack by the 94th Jan. 14, capturing the towns of Tettingen and Butzdorf. Catching the enemy off guard, the battalion continued its assault the next three days and grabbed Nennig, Wies and Berg. The first crack had been made in the Switch Line.
Despite weather which made the use of tracked vehicles extremely hazardous, a combat command of the 8th Armd. Div. joined the 94th on Jan. 19 and hooked up with the 302nd, which had relieved the 376th. The 302nd had the job of gouging a hole in the Switch Line so tanks could barrel through and cause havoc in the less fortified zones. Germans, attempting to break up these attacks, came back to recapture half of Nennig Jan. 22, fighting with tanks and infantry. Despite this temporary setback, Gen. Malony organized a team composed of the 302nd, 2nd Bn., 376th, an armored infantry battalion of the 8th and regained Nennig, leaving only a few cellars in the entire town habitable. The odor of cordite permeated the area of Nennig for weeks afterward as result of the heavy firing by both sides. Adverse weather hampered operations, but the battles continued. A breach of the anti-tank defenses was effected near Berg Jan. 24.
It was in this fighting that T/Sgt. Arnold Petry, Long Beach, N.Y., led 22 men through seven days of horror, completely surrounded by the enemy, and brought them out in fighting trim. During the week, the men were fired on by both American and German artillery, subsisted on seven cans of
Renewing the assault Jan. 26, elements of the 302nd and 376th and the combat command advanced front lines 1500 yards, retaking Butzdorf. Next day, Germans were pushed back another 1000 yards after 12 hours of fierce fighting. After this action the combat command was relieved and the 301st replaced the 302nd. The 301st closed out the month of January by taking Bubingen.
The 302nd began the job of clearing out the Campholz Woods Feb. 2. First Bn. launched an attack which mopped up the woods and garnered more than 150 PWs. In the next three days, continuous counter-attacks by tanks and infantry were repulsed, pillboxes cleared.
In combatting a counter-attack by tanks of the German 11th Panzer Div., Pfc Virgil Hamilton, Joplin, Mo.; Cpl. Bernie H. Heck, Danvers, Ill.; and Cpl. Earl Vulgamore, Shallow Water, Kan., rear echelon soldiers at the time, won Silver Stars for knocking out with a bazooka — a weapon they never had previously fired — four German tanks attacking on the road to Butzdorf. Using the only 12 rounds of ammunition available, the group blasted the first tank at 40 yards, the last at 150 yards.
On Feb. 7 the division set the stage for the big offensive when the 301st stepped out and took Sinz in a bloody scrap and added pillboxes southeast of the town for good measure. The 302nd lashed out eight days later, with the aid of a heavy artillery concentration, to knock out pillboxes east of the Campholz Woods. Germans made a determined bid to retake the pillboxes that night but suffered heavy losses, including nine tanks, in regaining the ground.
However, printed facts hardly describe the story of those first five weeks on the Western Front. The nights of hand-carrying supplies; miserable days and nights huddling in foxholes filled with slush and water; dodging mortar and artillery shells which came at the slightest movement or sound.
Engineers toting dynamite hundreds of yards to pillbox locations taken, lost and retaken; house-to-house and corner-to-corner fighting and moving in on artilleried targets; dodging mine fields; fighting with the realization that taking a town didn't mean the end of incoming artillery and mortar fire.
It was pure hell along the Moselle.
The advances, gains, hard knocks and deeds of the 94th as recorded here have constituted teamwork on the part of many units as well as individuals. The help given by the 774th TD Bn., 81st Chemical Mortar Bn., 1301st Engr. (C) Bn., 748th Tank Bn., 81st Smoke Generator Co.; 465th AAA (AW) Bn.; 15th Cav. Rcn. Sqdn.; 704th TD Bn.; 205th FA Gp., 3rd Cav. Cp., and 688th FA Bn. played a vital role in the division's scope of action.
To whatever new job the 94th is assigned, wherever duty calls, the division, proud of its achievements, is "On the Way" to Victory.
Photos: U.S. Signal Corps
Draeger - Paris