The 749th Tank Battalion

The 749th Tank Battalion landed at Utah Beach, participated in the St. Lo breakout with the 6th Armored Division, joined Patton's Army on August 6th and formed part of the southern flank at the Falaise Gap. It was part of the first armored column to cross the Seine River, bypassed Paris on the way to Belgium to help trap the German Army in France, turned to the east and went through Alsace and Lorraine, spending two months clearing out the German Army from the Forest de Parroy near Luneville. From there, it went through the Saverne Gap to Haguenau and Strasbourg, returned through the Gap, fighting north through and around the Vosges Forest to Rohrbach and Bitche. Forced to retreat to Sarrequemines and Forbach/St. Wendel during the Battle of the Bulge, they returned to Bitche and fought at the breakthrough at the Maginot Line, then helped take southern Germany to end the war.

30 June - 1 August 1944, Normandy to Avranches

The 749th Tank Battalion landed on Utah Beach at night June 29th and proceeded quickly through St. Mere Eglise to the western side of the Contentin Peninsula and began moving south as the right flank of the 79th Infantry Division, First Army. This area of northwest France was known as the bocage country where hedgerows were used to separate and delineate agricultural fields of 1-3 acres in size. The hedgerows were 6-8 feet high and 10-12 feet thick. The only way to get through the hedgerows was to use explosives and that alerted the Germans to the exact point at which they could aim their mortars and artillery. The narrow roads between hedgerows were heavily mined. On the day that the 749th landed, Combat Command A of the 3rd Armored Division, VII Corps, First Army, began an operation to reclaim a 3,000 yard salient that the Germans had made into the American front at Villiers-Fossard. After two days of fighting, the CCA had lost 31 tanks. (Source: "Death Traps", by Belton Cooper, Presidio Press, 1998). The superiority of the German tanks became obvious to everyone.

The dictionary definition of a "hedgerow" is a simple row of trees or bushes that separate one field from another. What the Americans actually found in Normandy were six- and even eight-feet-high hedgerows trapped by a row of trees that added an impenetrable layer anywhere from six to twenty feet high. Tanks could not break through them and had to expose their vulnerable undersides to climb over them, thus making their guns useless. The bocage offered the Germans ideal defensive positions. "I couldn't image the bocage until I saw it," said Bradley after the war.

From a military perspective, the hedgerows created a network of inverted trenches, forming a natural, layered fortification system that was well suited to defense. The earthen bases of the hedgerows shielded the defender from enemy fire and were thick enough to protect against small arms and machine-gun fire. The vegetation on top of the hedgerow provided concealment for the defenders and restricted the observation of the attacking force. Bocage complicated the use of field artillery since the vegetation could prematurely detonate the artillery rounds in the trees above before their intended impact against enemy positions. In addition, the hedgerows provided a solid basis for foxholes to shield against mortar and artillery fire.

American Infantry advance forward in the tracks of a tank that has broken through a Hedgerow in Normandy.
American Infantry advance forward in the tracks of a tank that has broken through a Hedgerow in Normandy.

The bocage severely constrained maneuver by the infantry, and even more so for vehicles. Many hedgerows were too tall to be surmounted by tanks, and even the lower hedgerows created problems since a tank climbing over the earth wall exposed its weakly protected underside to enemy anti-tank weapons. The road network in the bocage was poor since this region did not make much use of motorized farming techniques. Aside from a limited number of regional roads between the major towns, the individual hedgerows were connected by small openings and footpaths with the occasional cart path or small unpaved road.

The Germans themselves described fighting in the bocage as "Buschkrieg," Bush Warfare. They would plant mines at the bottom of shell craters in front of their positions so that an American soldier, throwing himself in to take cover, would have his legs blown off. Alongside tracks they rigged what the Americans called castrator mines or 'bouncing Bettys', which jumped up and exploded at crotch height. Their tanks and field gunners became expert at firing tree-bursts, which meant exploding a shell in the crown of a tree to blast splinters of wood into anyone sheltering below.

From 13 July until 26 July the 749th had no significant encounters with the enemy, although there were artillery exchanges and recon activity every day, and was essentially stuck in the vicinity of Lessay on the north bank of the Ay River. For most of that period, 749th tanks were practicing tank movements or were stationed in dug-out trenches, firing "indirect fire" like artillery pieces. On 26 July the famous "St. Lo breakout" began. According to other sources, the breakout began with 900 B26 bombers for over an hour, followed by 1,700 B-17 and B-24 bombers for 2 hours. Then 700 P-47 fighters came in as support for the ground attack. One of the towns virtually leveled was Marigny, about 12 miles southeast of where the 749th was then located. (Near there Lt. General Leslie McNair was killed and there were 600 casualties in the 9th Division by errant bombs). The Germans began a massive retreat and the 749th had no significant enemy contact as they moved south from 27 July to the outskirts of Laval on 5 August. The infantry did have intermittent small skirmishes with the enemy.

Cities: Ste Mere-Eglise, Ste. Jacques, Fierville, Canville, Denneville, La Haye Du Puits, Angoville, Lessay, Coutances, Granville, Sartilly.

Distance: 90 miles, 35 days.

Allied Units: 1st Army, 79th Division - 313th/314th/315th Infantry Regiments, 106th Cavalry Group, 83rd Infantry Division, 85th Recon Battalion, 79th Recon Troop, 6th Armored Division, 2nd Cavalry Group, 602nd Engineering Battalion.

German Units: 243rd Infantry Division, 243rd Artillery Regiment, 353rd Engineering Battalion, 353rd Replacement Battalion, SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment "Der Fuehrer", 352nd Engineering Battalion, 77th Division Artillery, 941st Infantry Regiment, 942nd Infantry Regiment, 920 Infantry Regiment, 921 Infantry Regiment.

24 June 44: Bn alerted for movement to unknown destination somewhere in France.

29 June 44: 1330 Convoy LST's bearing Bn arrived at Utah beachhead on Normandy Coast. "B" and "C" Co's succeeded in debarking at approx 2345. Two "B" Co tanks were stuck on road off beach.

2 July: St Thomas - St Martin: Intermittent rain. "A" Co attached to 314th Infantry Regiment of 79th Division. "B" Co attached 313th. "C" Co attached to 315th.

3 July: Enemy front lines vicinity Denneville. Weather continuous rain. Enemy fought delaying action from hedgerow to hedgerow. Area heavily mined. Shortly after jump-off, the 315th Inf Reg killed or captured most of an 80 man enemy OPL. 314th approaching SW slope of hill 121. "A" company vicinity Canville lost 4 tanks, 7 EM KIA (S/Sgt LaPorte, Cpl Etienne, T/5 Kushay, Pfc Rock, Pfc Bartko, Pvt Maddon, Pvt Miranda) and 6 wounded (Sgt Shoewalter, Cpl McGrath, Pfc Foster, Pfc Ranaldo, Pvt Finnan. One tank and crew missing: 2nd Lt Fischer, Goble, Dell Vecchia, Ledwell, Hofer. Two EM SWA, Turner and Marshall. "B" Co Cmdr (Capt Redford) while reconnoitering at front ..... was shot through the chest by a sniper. "C" Co lost one tank by bazooka fire, 3 EM KIA, Pfc Lattanzio, T/4 Seranto. (3rd name missing)

4 July: Canville and La Maugererie. Enemy continues stubborn defense hedgerow to hedgerow. 314th reports all crossroads mined. Pfc Jacobs of Med Det seriously wounded by sniper while evacuating wounded with red cross plainly visible on helmet. CWO Caniel LWA by shrapnel.

5 July: "B" Co 2 miles north of La Haye Du Puits to engage enemy in the vicinity. Five enemy artillery batteries found. Advance of 313th Inf Reg impeded by defenses and enemy counter attacks. Sniper action heavy. "A" Co Lt Conway, T/5 Thomas WIA. "C" Co. near Gaugne - attached to 315th encountered very stiff resistance and heavy concentrations of 88mm guns, rocket guns, machine guns. Two tanks lost, 5 EM KIA, 1 missing in action. New type of mine - "Mustard Pot" anti-personnel.

6 July: Montgarten. AR and Teller mines encountered. "A" Co. 4 tks out of action. EM KIA, Pvt Shrake. LWA Sgt Blackburn from shrapnel. Cpl Dougherty SWA. Sgt Schumacher LWA. Lt McNeely assumes command of "A" Co. 2nd platoon "B" Co ... 314th Inf ... destroyed several rocket guns and machine gun nests ... and many infantry. 2 EM injured, one EM KIA (Sgt Westbrook) by sniper while in turret. "C" Co 1 EM KIA and EM LWA (Fort) going to front ... to retrieve body. Capt Simmons ... LIA. Lt Martin assumes command "C" Co.

7 July: Montgarden. Weather rainy. Enemy bitterly contested all attempts to advance and counterattacked with several tanks and a Bn of infantry, preceded by heavy artillery. 313th reports knocking out three tanks. "B" Co, 1st Platoon in support of 314th hedgerow to hedgerow ....one tank out of action in marsh, 5 tanks out of action stuck in hedgerow. Tanks out of action were guarded by crew members ...EM SWA (Cpl Cash) trapped in tank overnight. "C" Co. ...German Mark VI (Tiger) was destroyed ... at 20 yard range. 1 EM KIA (Sgt Cox) killed by sniper. Co Commander Capt Hartzell and entire crew missing in action. "D" Co ...Mission to hunt snipers in support of 314th. One tank out of action by Teller mine. Driver T/5 D.C. Wells KIA and T/5 Karcxewski SWA.

US soldiers in La Haye du Puits.
US soldiers in La Haye du Puits.

8 July: La Haye Du Puits. During the night enemy retrieved their damaged vehicles. Area heavily mined and buildings booby-trapped. In the afternoon, 314th supported by 749th Tank Bn launched attack on La Haye du Puits. "A" Company attacked (8 tanks) at 1500 hrs with 1st Bn 314th from 1 mile north of city; 2 tanks knocked out by Teller mines. "C" Co attacked from the east at 2000 hrs ... 2 tanks knocked out. Bn Cmdr 1st Bn 314th followed tanks and set up GP. EM LWA T/5 Ayres, shot self in hand with submachine gun while dismounting tank. "B" Co. with 1 plat attacked at 1600 hrs from the west of the city using only 5 tanks. Lt. Woods slightly injured by sniper shot through helmet but continued ... 3rd Platoon bogged down in mud. Pfc McDonald covered other tank crews by manning his tank gun after crawling over 60 yards of open field exposed to heavy and small arms fire. "D" Co lost 1 tank; I EM SWA, 2 EM injured and evac. No anti-tank guns encountered, only snipers. 30 caliber machinegun fire from tanks sprayed all hedges, buildings, and windows. 75mm tank guns leveled some buildings, destroying machine gun emplacements.

9 July: La Haye du Puits 315th advanced 500 yards at south of town ... Co I used hand grenades at close range. New weapon believed used today. Flat trajectory gun shooting a projectile with greater concussion.... results in a cloud of black smoke ... fumes similar to kerosene. Three "A" tanks attached to "C" are shelled in bivouac at 2230 hrs. Co Comdr and ass't gunner (Lt Martin, Pvt E.R. Smith) wounded ... evac. "C" Co tank hit by 88mm south of Montgarden - two EM, Sgt Clements, Pvt Herzog wounded, two others in crew, T/4 Wilcoxen, Pvt Roos, hospitalized for shock. "B" Co. One Co. of 314th Inf surrounded by Germans. Tanks called and ... including foot recon by "B" company drove the enemy out. Message left for Lt. Grisbey by Sgt Clements:

US soldiers in La Haye du Puits.
US soldiers in La Haye du Puits.

10 July: La Haye du Puit. 315th ... attacked from 700 yds N of LD. Hedgerows showered with machine gun fire and 75mm HE. 314th met determined resistance … primarily small arms fire, mortars. "C" Co ... mission to clean out heavy machinegun concentrations. Tank with bulldozer attached initiated and its operation was successful on hedgerows. "B" Co all 6 tanks, which were stuck on hedgerow on previous day’s operations, recovered. "C" Co one EM IMA (Lawlor) from mortar shrapnel.

11 July: Hierville-Angoville. Patrols found 32 dead Germans and several graves. "A" Co proceeded on road not cleared of mines by Engineers. Opposition encountered on detour in form of anti-tank guns, machine gun fire, rocket guns. Tanks could not fire for fear of firing on friendly troops; tanks withdrew. "B" Co. attached to 314th used 2 tanks to wipe out machinegun nests, 23 prisoners taken as a result of tanks' appearance. “D” Co sent to area in rear of 315th , 2nd Bn, to clean up pockets of resistance. Pvt Melton, SWA and evac. "C" Co One tank knocked out at close range by 88mm or rocket gun. EM KIA (Cpl Norell), WIA (Sgt Adams). Lt Ellsworth (CO) injured by shrapnel, evac.

13 July: Beauvis. "A" Co 5 tanks attacked toward Angeville. 3 tanks out of action from rocket or rifle grenades. One tank in marsh. 5 EM KIA S/Sgt O'Bryant, Sgt Bradfield, Cpl Weakley, Cpl Gammons [Editor: family member told me that Thomas Gammons was reported as MIA and WIA via a second government telegram after initial telegram that reported he was KIA] , Pvt Bryan. 2 EM LIA T/5 Lane and Pvt Decker. Tank comdrs reported ... Inf did not follow up the tanks in the attack. Five miniature tanks (Doodlebugs) were found in 106 sector (106th Cavalry Group).

14 July: Lessay: North of Ay river. Enemy booby trapped a dead American, injuring an Engr.

16 July: Lessay: North of Ay river. Patrols of 315th fired on as they tried to cross the river. "C" Co shelled heavily in bivouac. EM KIA T/5 Haskell, EM DOW Pvt Jacoberger, 2 EM WIA Cpl Baker, T/5 Heller).

Hedgerow fighting near Lessay
Hedgerow fighting near Lessay.

18 July: Lessay: North of Ay river. One Plt of “A” Co practiced tactics of hedgerow fighting with 315th. Close communications between tanks and infantry being strived for.

19 July: Lessay: North of Ay river. Two patrols of 315th were able to cross the river. Drew heavy MG and rifle fire. Enemy continues to hold bridgehead just N of bridge at Lessay. Artillery fire heavy at night.

20 July: Lessay: North of Ay river. One patrol of 315th crossed the river and penetrated 500 yards. More fighting at bridgehead at Lessay. Heavy concentration of Teller and S mines. “C” Co attached to 83rd Division, moved to area NE of La Haye du Puits.

21 July: Enemy front lines S bank of Ay River, Patrols of 315th were able to cross the river E and W of Lessay bridge. West patrol penetrated several hundred yards and met considerable opposition. East patrol advanced only a few yards before running into a S-mine field. The 314th succeeded in getting two patrols across the river. Artillery and mortar fire was sporadic during the night.

22 July: Lessay: North of Ay river. A false gas alarm was spread in other sectors. Installation of remote controls and other radio sets for communications between tanks and Inf team. Pvt Price, previously MIA, returned. Had been fighting with various Inf Bn.

23 July: Lessay: North of Ay river. 106th Calvary patrolled south of the river. Artillery fire heavy at night. One patrol went about 2 miles into enemy territory and reported seeing only two sentries. One German patrol was seen N of the river. Artillery fire was heavy during the night.. Enemy defending from prepared positions S of the river. One ME109 seen in the Div sector late in the evening.

24 July: Enemy units in contact.A reliable PW reported a new "igniter" which activates the Teller mines 35 Stahl", "Re", and "'43 Pilz" so that any attempt will explode the mine.Companies B and D plus Headqtrs camouflage painted by 603 Engr Bn.

26 July: Lessay: North of Ay river. Patrol from 3rd Bn 315th reported the annihilation of 8 man German outpost. The enemy fired an unusually high number of flares last night. Enemy aircraft dropped mg. flares during darkness and thereafter artillery engaged in vicinity of flares. “A” Co fired 1600 rds 75mm indirectly as artillery. “B” Co fired indirectly during the day, then moved to support 314th in attack in 8th Division sector. "C" Co attached 83rd Div ... one tank lost to bazooka fire. KIA S/Sgt Stallard, WIA Sgt Lantz, 5 EM WIA T/5 Barrett, Pfc. Troutman, Pfc. Pumillo, Pvt Burnett.

25 July: Lessay: Enemy units in contact. Patrols of 315th observed a large group of Germans. 314th reported a patrol clash on their left between the enemy and a patrol of the 83rd Division. Co's "A" and "B" fired indirectly as ordered. All tanks complete with crews.A reliable POW

An M4 medium tank of the 6th moves through the ruins of Lessay on 28 July. This division was attached to Patton's newly activated Third Army.
An M4 medium tank of the 6th moves through the ruins of Lessay on 28 July. This division was attached to Patton's newly activated Third Army.

26 July: Lessay: All three Bns of the 315th had patrols south of the Ay river; 3rd battalion reported annihilation of 8-man German outpost. The enemy fired an unusually high number of flares last night. Enemy aircraft mg flares and immediately after enemy artillery fire engaged targets in vicinity of flares. "A" Company fired 1600 rounds of 75mm indirectly. :B" Company fired indirectly during the day. Moved to assembly area at 2000 hours preparing to support 83rd Division sector. Due to evidence of mines "B" Company preferred not to advance during the night."C" company committed to action in 83rd Division sector. Lost one tank to bazooka fire. One EM KIA (S/SGT Stallard), five EM WIA (Sgt Lantz, T/5 Barrett, Pfc Torutman, Pfc Pumillo, Pvt Burnett). "D" Company no activity.

27 July: 314th met some resistance near Battiere. AP mines impede progress. 315th unable to cross AY river due to mine fields. The 106th Cav crossed the river about 1945 hours without opposition. After clearance, 315th entered Lessay at 2130, reporting heavy artillery and mortar fire. Shelling continued during the night. 749th "B" Co went to an ever-watching, hull-down position, prepared to support 314th by fire or fire and movement.

28 July: Scattered groups of enemy troops picked up as Div advanced to the South. 106th met light resistance in its zone. Captured documents told of new container used by Luftwaffe for dropping messages - shaped like a bomb and colored red . ... they carry important and urgent information.

29 July: Coutances: Patrol of 315th went to a bridge SW of town. Bridge under enemy artillery fire. "C" Company released from 83 Inf Div, reattached to 79th div.

US soldiers take a rest near farmhouse in Coutances.
US soldiers take a rest near farmhouse in Coutances.

30 July: Countances. "C" Co released from 83rd Inf Div.

US troops and M4 Sherman moving through the runis of Coutances
US troops and M4 Sherman moving through the runis of Coutances

31 July: 79th Recon advanced to Sartilly. No enemy contact for 749th.

1 Aug: Regiments started forward ... following 6th Armored Division. No enemy encountered.

2 August - 5 September 1944, From Avranches To Laval, Paris, And Belgium

After passing through Avranches, the 749th joined the Third Army (Patton) and were ordered to turn east as the right flank of the drive to close the Falaise Pocket and dash northeast to Paris, chasing the Germans who were retreating rapidly. The 749th swung to the southeast toward Laval, which was the southernmost point of the 749th's drive south on the Contentin Peninsula. A 3-day battle cost the 749th 4 tanks and many wounded, including the death of the Battalion Commander Lt. Colonel Donaldson as he was examining a map on the hood of a jeep east of Laval. After leaving Laval the Battalion turned east through LeMans, then turned north as part of the pincer movement at the Falaise Gap. From August 9th to August 19th the 749th did not engage the enemy while the ground troops met scattered resistance. The Germans were retreating east rapidly. There was daily strafing and bombing from German aircraft. When the Battalion reached the Seine south of Paris (at Mantes-Gassicourt), they were the first armored group to cross the Seine. The Battalion did not enter Paris; instead they headed north through the western suburbs to Belgium. The 749th, like many troops, did not appreciate allowing the French Army to enter Paris while they continued on to Belgium.

The stay in Belgium was brief - a few days - and then the 749th turned south and east and headed for northeast France - Alsace and Lorraine.

Cities: Avranches, Fougeres, Vitre, Change, Laval, Avesse, Loue, LeMans, Bonnetable, Le Mele San-Sarthe, Mortagne, Nogent le Roi, Gassicourt, Mantes, Rouillon, Pruflle, Bonnetable, Mortain, Mars Le Briers, Marolles Les Broults, Le Mele Sur Sarthe, Laleu, Verigney, Le Tremblay, Rosny sur Seine, Guernes, La Roche Guyon, Villers en Arthies, Veteuil, Fontenay-St Pare, Limay, Guitrancourt, St. Cyr en Arthies, Drocourt, Meulan, Fremainville, Aincourt, Arthies, Sailly, Maudetot, Genainville, Banthelu, Wi-dit-Joli, Arthies, Berville, Meru, Beavais; (Belgium) Peronne, Rumegies, St Amand.

Distance: 150 miles, 31 days.

Allied Units: 3rd Army, 7th Armored Division, 5th Armored Division, 79th Division - 313th/314th/315th Regiments, 304 Engineering Battalion, 310th FA Battalion, 85th Recon, 2nd Cavalry Group, 106th Cavalry Group, 121st Cavalry Squad, 813th TD Battalion, 304th FA Battalion, 113th Cavalry Group.

German Units: 748th Infantry (708th Fusiler Bn), 708th Infantry Division, 18th GAF Division, 17th GAF Division, 200th Infantry Division.

2 Aug: Granville: No enemy opposition was encountered in movement of units from position at beginning of period to present position of advanced infantry elements. Battalion left in column from bivouac southeast of Granville. Order for assembly area changed en route. Originally planned to stop north of St James, new objective Fougeres. Bn given road priority to quell reported tank counter-attack. Left from bivouac southeast of Granville. Passed through Avranches. Air activity heavy during hours of darkness. Traveled 33.2 miles to advance CP Closed into area at 2400 hours.

3 Aug: Fougeres: Enemy contacted in Fougeres early in the period. 313th and 79th Recon entered Fougeres. (Map 5) . The town was lightly defended by AA personnel. 50 PW's and 4 88mm guns and some motor transport were captured. Cav forces patrolled south to vicinity of Vitre. "C" Company had mission to move into town of Fougeres at 1730 hours and sweep for possible area of resistance. One platoon of infantry rode on top of tanks. No resistance in the town. Two enemy guns of large caliber followed "C" Co outside of town, but were captured by infantry with material intact. Mortar fire encountered but no large guns. "C" Company reconnoitered for assault position and routes for further advance. "A" and "B" Companies selected assault positions on high ground on outskirts of city. "D" Company reconnoitered roads north and east of city.

4 Aug: South of Fougeres: Regiment A and R Platoons patrolled out from their sectors. Two enemy scout cars were reported in the Fougeres-Ernee Road at 1600 hours. Elements of the 2nd Cav Gp captured Vitre at 1500 hours after being opposed by a force estimated at 150 men, heavy mortars, and three 88mm guns. The 106th Cav Sq. patrolled from Fougeres to the outskirts of Ernee and found the town occupied by an enemy force of unknown size. At 2100 hours a patrol from the 85th Recon Bn was fired on by an AT gun near La Pellerine. The 106th Cav Sq patrolled to La Croixille and found a road block just north of town protected by enemy. Enemy aviation active during the period. 749th intact in bivouac in Foret de Fougeres. Air activity heavy at night, bombing and strafing.

5 Aug: Laval: 313th Combat team pre-1 platoon of 106th Cav and 79th Recon moved to western outskirts of Laval. Some resistance was met at La Croixille where prisoners were taken and three 20mm guns, one 37mm gun, and one 88mm gun were captured or destroyed. 106th Calvary Group cleared road from Vitre to Laval and patrolled on the division left flank. The 313th Combat Team drove enemy outposts into Laval. 749th Bn assigned to Combat Team 3 (Col Woods. 313th, commanding), left Fougeres at 0830 ( 313th Hdq field order Aug 5) driving to Laval. "A" Company and one platoon "D" Company in advance guard. One 88mm gun destroyed by "A" Company at La Croixille. "D" Company met resistance 3 miles north of Laval and east of road. "A" Company took up position approx 3 miles north of Laval in support of 313th and moved south by yardage. AT and S/A resistance encountered. Four tanks of "B" Co. out of action but all repairable - hits on bogie wheels and guns. Tk Comdr shot in head by sniper SWA (Sgt Disney, "A" Co.).

6 Aug: Laval: 313th and 314th cross Mayenne River at ... Laval and Change. The 106th Cav Gp also forced a crossing at 702525 and contacted the 313th GT in Laval at 2100. Bombing mission on the road east of Laval.... 16 ammunition trucks and 8 Tiger tanks destroyed. "C" Co with 314th advanced to Change, destroying AT guns and many infantry. "B" Co, had five casualties: WIA 2nd Lt Greenberg, INA 2nd Lt Traweck, SWA S/Sgt Denenny, SWA Cpl Crawford, SWA Pvt Biancaniello....

749th Battalion assigned to 3rd US Army (Patton) as of today.

7 Aug: East of Laval. Adv 35 miles against light opposition at Bazougers, Brulon, Loue. "A" Company platoon of tanks sent to Avesse where civilians reported one tank and 100 enemy troops. 106th Cav Gp contacted enemy late in the afternoon. 79th Recon engaged 8 riflemen, 10 mortar, 1 AT gun at 2200 hours. Same troop knocked out 2 German recon vehicles and killed or captured 8 occupants. "C" Company ..... outskirts of Loue where enemy maintained good defensive positions. Lieut. Col. Donaldson, Bn Comdr of 749th, killed in action by sniper fire while with "C" Co. WIA, T/Sgt W. Venema. Traveled 40 miles.

8 Aug: LeMans: (Route Map 2) (Map 7) "A" Co attached to 2nd Bn 315th left Loue 0800 for LeMans, preceded by 121st Cal Gp and 79th Recon. 813th TD located 2 MK IV tanks but they moved before destroyers could reach them. Troops followed tanks, and mounted tanks outside LeMans. Reached town square 1700, captured about 50 PWs. "D" Co 20 PWs taken. No enemy resistance. "C" Co at Rouillon with 1st Bn 315th... blew up large ammunition dump. Encounter with 90th Civ troops who fired on our column by mistake.

9 Aug: LeMans: SP and AA guns knocked out by 813 TD Bn near Lemans. "D" Co mission ... taken care of by 5th Armd Div. [Editor: The 81st Tank Battalion of the 5th Armored Division was on the right flank of the 749th for some time between Avranches and Mantes-Gassicourt].

10 Aug: Div did not meet any organized resistance during its advance behind 5th Armd Div thru 13 Aug. Bonnetable, St Mars Le Briere, Marolles Les Broults, Le Mele Sur Sarthe. 106 Cav Gp patrolled east flank of the Div. Traveled 70 miles.

13 Aug: No contact with enemy. 106Cav Gp patrolled the E flank of the Div.

14 Aug: TD Bn had a sharp engagement at Laleu. All tanks need maintenance work badly. The enemy displayed his desperate plight today by trying to get through to the East during daylight.

15 Aug: Traveled 50 miles. Late in the period the 7th Armd Div mixed in with our column at Nogent Le Roi. Traveled 72 miles

16 Aug: Nogent Le Roi. Tank engines are fatigued, tracks in need of turning and some new tracks are needed. Many minor oil leaks in engines.... which we are unable to repair. No enemy contact. 106th Cav Gp met small groups of the enemy throughout the day.

17 Aug: Maintenon. "C" Co One casualty DVA (T/5 Bank) from flak and strafing. No contact with enemy. A large German ordnance establishment was located at Maintenon. 106 Cav Gp reported two more enemy aircraft were shot down.

18 Aug: Mantes-Gassicourt. Enemy could be seen withdrawing to the Seine River from La Beitte Verde. 106th Cav Gp fired on them. Tanks were brought up and directed fire ... . Traveled 33.7 miles ... to Mantes-Gassicourt, preceded by the 106th Cav Gp. "B" Co ... as leading element ... reaching south edge of Mantes. 2nd platoon "B" Co encountered enemy vehicles, fired direct fire ... knocked out two vehicles.

19 Aug: Mantes-Gassicourt. Patrol of 313th captured Rosny Sur Seine and reported Bonniere Sur Seine clear. Civilians reported 6 enemy tanks had left the town earlier in the day. 313th captured 32 vehicles, 1 Mk IV tank, 1 AA gun. Machine gun fire across the Seine from Guernes and Limay. 40 German fighter-planes were over Div sector. 314th patrol reports Mantes clear. A patrol of the 304th Eng Bn crossed the dam north of Mantes. They were the first Americans across the Seine River.

20 Aug: Mantes-Gassicourt: Enemy front lines on high ground east of the Seine. 79th Inf Div was the first American Div to cross the Seine when the 313th, 1st Bn 315th, and 310 FA Bn crossed during the period. The 313th and 314th ran into organized resistance along the line Veteuil-Fontaney-Limary. 749th Co.'s "A" and "B" crossed the (Seine) river at approx 1715 hours, reverted to Ret. control.

749th Sherman crossing the Seine River
749th Sherman crossing the Seine River

21 Aug: Limay. In the afternoon 314th captured Limay and with the 315th extended the bridgehead. Enemy aircraft active in trying to knock out pontoon bridge; 11 airplanes were shot down by AA fire. "B" Co with 314th encountered enemy Inf but when artillery concentrated ... enemy scattered. Enemy fire ... S. of Guitrancourt... came from a barn. "B" Co. tanks fired HE blowing the roof off the barn. Several PWs taken.

22 Aug: La Roche Guyon and Villers: Enemy aircraft active over the area, unsuccessfully attacking the pontoon bridge. 79th Recon Tr .... along the Limay-Meulan road. 106 Cal Gp reports Germans have reoccupied Epone and Maule. At 900 hours 313th and .... 1 Plt "A" Co ... to clean strong point known to be Rommel's Hqs at La Roche Guyon. An underground fortress, castle, motor parks, electricity, air conditioning, 1-5 mile depth was encountered. 20 enemy killed and 20 PWs. I tank hit by bazooka. Two EM WIA (T/5 Coyne, Pvt Heindselman). One tank hit on turret by mortar fire, breaking all periscopes - no casualties. Another platoon "A" Co to Villers to root out reported 30-40 Germans. One tank destroyed .... by Molotov cocktail; no injuries. Tank caught fire, crew unable to extinguish flames due to exploding ammunition. 314th sent East toward Guitrancourt to clean out enemy who had penetrated our lines; moved back to our lines at 1815. Two assault guns fired 120 rounds HE and WP; light tank platoon fired 37mm HE and 30 MGs. Ammunition dump under haystack destroyed by "D" Co. tank. Many Germans killed. "B" and "C" companies not committed.

23 Aug: Guitrancourt: The enemy attacked again at 0800 with elements of the 17th and 18th GAF supported by 4 tanks. The 3rd battalion of the 314th bore the brunt of the attack, and drove back the enemy with heavy losses.... Two of the German tanks were knocked out. 3rd Platoon "B" Co. set up on edge of light brush and fired at scattered enemy infantry. Due to error of communication ... one friendly TD knocked out by one 75mm HE at 1600 yards. It was not known that the 315th was swinging N and E from where the TD came. 2nd Plt "B" Co attacked from high ground, supporting 314th to retake ground near Guitrancourt. Killed 15, took 30 PWs, wounded 15, knocked out 2 German tanks. "A", "C", "D" companies not committed.

24 Aug: Guitrancourt: Motors were heard in Guitrancourt at 0100 and artillery fired on this target. At 1100 the 18th GAF attacked the positions of the 313th. The attack was repulsed and prisoners were taken. Mortar platoon from 749th HQ Co to support 313th with 3 81mm mortars.

25 Aug: Guitrancourt: Enemy artillery very active during the period. Small groups of enemy observed digging in all along our front lines. Our aircraft bombed La Roche Guyon. WIA Thorpe. The 749th mortar Plt, with 313th, moved into firing positions at 0800. Fired 100 rounds at 1400 yards into building and woods. WIA Christie, Melton

26 Aug: Guitrancourt. Enemy artillery was active during day and night and for the first time the enemy used a "Nabelwefer" in this sector. Enemy attacked twice during this period. At 1630 …Germans attacked 314th with 15 tanks and self-propelled weapons. Artillery and 313th TD broke up tank formation and destroyed 7 tanks. 313th attacked at 1930 but artillery defeated the attack. No action by 749th.

27 Aug: Fontenay - St Cyr: Patrols of the 313th encountered enemy resistance in the morning. "A" Co supporting 313th, attacked at 1600 preceded by artillery concentration lasting 15 minutes. One enemy AT gun destroyed. Two tanks hit by artillery or bazookas, but repairable. One tank had 76mm gun shot off. EM WIA Pvt Hess. 314th supported by "B" Co tanks drove enemy from hill 192. 315th overcame … resistance, captured hill 188. "B" Co one tank knocked out, EM Pvt Ferranti, KIA and one EM Sgt. Keneipp, SWA. "C" Co supported 315th at Hill 188, overcame strong enemy resistance.

28 Aug: Drocourt-Sailly. Enemy lines at Drocourt-Sailly. "A" Co Comdr, supporting 313th, ordered "mass attack" on St Cyr En Arthies where AT gun was located. 600 rounds of 75mm plus Mg [magnesium] fired into town. 313th overcame strong resistance in its right sector; 28 PWs and 25 enemy killed. AT gun silenced. One casualty (Pvt Hess) from AT gun. "A" Company recovered knocked out tank, using one platoon of tanks for covering fire. "B" Co. attached 314th 2nd and 3rd Bns... objective Drucourt ... drove Germans from hill 192. Destroyed one AT gun, one horse-drawn artillery piece. EM, Pvt Smith T.D., IWA from within the tank. In 315th sector, with "C" Company, resistance was marked by bitter fighting.

29 Aug: Arties - Maudetour: "B" Co. 3rd Plt. supported 2nd Bn 314th. Attacked Maudetour. Enemy encountered. 14 killed, 50 captured... brief case containing many marked maps.... 4 German staff cars and one motorcycle captured. "C" Company attached 315th attacked between Amcourt and Arthies. The Rcn Trp patrolled to Wy Dit Joli. An OP of 315th reported an estimated Bn of enemy marching SW to Banthelu and another company heading NW.

30 Aug: Beauvais. Enemy NE of Meru. Div advanced 20 miles. 79th Ren Tr captured 30 PWs, killed 30, destroyed Mark VI tank, 6 vehicles and several horse-drawn carriages. "A" Co and one plt "D" Co supported 313th on Route B, vicinity Quonins. Pvt Mize, Headquarters Mortar unit in support of 313th, WIA at Haravillers (SE of Quonins). "B" Co and one plt "D" Co had mission as advance guard for CT4 on Route A (left flank of Division), objective Cresnes. "C" Company and 2nd Plt "D" Co had mission as a guard for CT5 on Route C (on right flank). Spotted 2 enemy columns retreating, shot them up, captured 25 PWs, 7 trucks, killed 50. "C" Co Shelled town of Berville with 200 rounds of 75mm. Headquarters moved to vicinity southwest of Pereat.

1 Sep: One squadron of the 113th Cav Gp covered the adv of the Division. By 2200 314th and 315th had established bridgeheads across Somme River. 200 Germans and 4 88 mm guns reported at Perrone. Div advanced 60 miles. 749th Hq left old bivouac at Bruille.

2 Sep: Div adv 65 miles... crossed over into Belgium.

4 Sep: 200 German PWs taken in woods at bivouac area.

5 Sep: A large gp of Germans numbering 400-500 .... were serenaded by Corps artillery.

6 September - 19 November 1944, From Belgium to Luneville and Sarrebourg

While in Belgium, the 749th was reassigned to the 7th Army (General Patch) which was approaching Alsace from the South. The tanks of the 749th were just about on their last legs as the unit made a 13-day, 250 mile trip to the northeast corner of France (Lorraine). At one point in the move, the 749th spent 6 days in bivouac in the Foret de Mathons (near Joinville, 50 miles southwest of Nancy) waiting for spare tank parts and gas (gas was being rationed as Eisenhower had decided to divert most gas supplies to Montgomery's battle in Belgium). The 749th and the 79th Division re-engaged the Germans at Neufchateau, Mirecourt and then Charmes on the Moselle River south of Luneville. Once they arrived at Luneville, the 79th and 749th spent the next 2 months trying to clear the area around Luneville and the Foret de Parroy and to advance to Sarrebourg. More specifically, taking 60 days to go 45 miles.

From the 28th of September until the 14th of November the 749th fought in an area about 15 miles long in the east-west direction and 8 miles deep in the north-south direction in the Foret de Parroy, which was a few miles east of Luneville. Over 90 percent of the action reported in the log entries mention five city names: Marainviller, Manonviller, Embermenil, Domjevin, La Neuveville. It is a story of constant artillery and mortar fire from entrenched positions, daily forays to capture, and recapture, small areas of the hilly, heavily-forested, marshy countryside, and many fierce battles when units met each other on narrow roads deep within the forest. One of the 749'ers remarked that they often returned to a spot where they had been days earlier, and their trash from the previous days was still there, with German trash added to the heap.

Finally the Germans were pushed out and our troops reached Sarrebourg, 15 miles northeast of the forest and in the valley leading toward the Vosges Forest.

Cities: St. Quentin, Reims, Chalon, Joinville, Neufchateau, Repel, Blemery, Remicourt, Poussay, Mirecourt, Epinal, Savigny, Charmes, Chatel, Bayon, Landecourt, Gerbeviller, Lamath, Xermanemil, Frambois, Luneville, Moncel, Parroy, Marainville, Manonviller, Embermenil, Domjevin, La Neuveville, Xousse, Bienville, Domjevin, Blemerey, Remoncourt, Leintrey, Amenoncourt, Veho, Blament, Autrepierre, Avricourt, Fremanville, Halloville, Badonviller, Rechicourt, Dabo, Sarrebourg.

Distance: 300 miles, 73 days.

Allied Units: 79th Infantry Division - 313th/314th/315th Infantry Regiments, 106 Cavalry Group, 2nd French Armored Division, 773rd TD Battalion, 813 TD Battalion, 312th FA Battalion, 121st Cavalry Squad, 33rd Engineering Battalion, 463rd AAA Battalion (M), 693rd FA Battalion, 242nd FA Battalion, 71st Infantry Regiment, 44th Infantry Division - 71st/114th/324th Infantry Regiments, 12th TAC, 157th FA Battalion, 217th FA Battalion, 208th FA Battalion, 398th AAA, 776th Tank Bn, 105th Cal Gp.

German Units: 221st Regiment, 21st Panzer Division, 111th Panzer Brigade, 15th Panzer Gr Division, 104th Panzer Regiment, 115th Panzer Regiment, 33rd Panzer Engineering Battalion, 16th Infantry Division, 16th Motorized Bicycle Battalion, 2113th Panzer Brigade, 11th Panzer Division, 2122 Panzer Fr Regiment, 11 Panzer Recon Battalion, 104th Panzer Regiment, Panzer Replacement Battalion, 1120th Grenadier Regiment, 56th Fortress Machine Gun Battalion, 19th Infantry Division, 110th Panzer Regiment, 209th Panzer Battalion, 59th Regiment, 1553 Engineering, 51st Fortress MF Battalion, 951st Inf Regiment, 1119th Infantry Regiment, Replacement Brigade 708, Replacement Battalion 554th Division

7 Sep: ... moved from the Belgium border to ... Reims. Distance 157.5 miles.

8 Sep: ... moved 118 miles to vicinity Joinville. Vehs and tk maintenance absolutely necessary for further operation.

9 Sep: All Co.'s will biv at Foret De Mathons. Only... 10 of Bn combat vehs are available for combat. Tks and parts for tk and vehs are urgently needed to accomplish any further mission.

10 Sep: Enemy at Neufchateau. At 0430 an ey ammo supply column came north and turned into a pos of the 106 Cavalry Sq. All trucks set afire. Entire 749th Bn in Foret De Mathons. Thirty 2 1/2 ton trucks sent to Utah Beach for tk engines, spare parts, and much needed tk tracks. One mixed platoon (5) of tanks alerted for move...... Balance ... out of action.

12 Sep: Neufchateau. Enemy offered stiff resistance to 315th at Neufchateau; ey Bn reported in the center of town. 314th captured Charmes in heavy street fighting and crossed the Moselle. 313th encountered heavy resistance at Poussey-Ambacourt, receiving MG and artillery fire. 106 Cav at Jauvincourt fired on approx 500 enemy at 1730 near woods. Ey artillery, automatic weapons, mortar, AA fire, flat trajectory fire forced 106th to move N. 1 tank hit mine, no injuries. 749th: Only 3 tks now operating. Remainder still in biv in Foret de Mathons.

Moving up to take Charmes, France
Moving up to take Charmes, France

13 Sep: Neufchateau. 1 BN 315th forced its way unto Neufchateau. 100 PWs. 313th captured Ambacort and Bettencourt. Pltn of 749th tanks supported 314th at Charmes. Remainder of Bn in bvc at Foret de Mathons. The 106th Cav Gp patrolled the N 1/2 of Foret De Charmes and found it clear.

14 Sep: Chatenois. 313th captured 275 PWs at Poussay and Mirecourt. 106th Cav Gp occupied Morinville and destroyed 9 ey vehs moving E from Portioux. A Cav patrol which pushed to the outskirts of Portioux reported 100 Germans in the town. Col. Wenzel (German) surrendered to 315th his entire command of 13 O's, 117 NCO's, 533 soldiers. Lt Oleson, Sgt Byke, Cpl Bush, S/Sgt Merritt and crews moved with "C" Co to join 315th Inf at Neufchateau.

15 Sep: Ramecourt. Ey troops between Chatenois and Ramecourt try at 0200 to break thru 313th and 315th. Attempt broken up and 450 Germans were taken prisoner. 749th Bn ... left biv. Traveled 65 miles to Blemery. T/4 Niemeyer, S/Sgt Lee, Sgt Eck, Sgt Fried, Sgt Cooley and crews moved ... Savigny. Lt Oleson and other crews moved to Charmes.

17 Sep: Charmes, Essegney. Armored German recon grp moved towards Moselle; 3 tks infiltrated across river into Nomexy. Captain Redford returned to duty.

18 Sep: Charmes. 106 Cavalry reported movement of tanks and Inf to NW from Rambervillers and Baccarat towards Luneville.

19 Sep: 313th advances to Lamath. 313th CT adv to Lamath this morning and captured the town against S/A, machine gun, 20mm, and artillery fire. During the afternoon 1 Bn of the CT crossed the La Mortagne River without opposition and by dark had taken Xermamenil, which was defended by 14 tks. 3 MkIV tks destroyed by 773rd TD Bn. Remainder moved E into woods. Mont was captured by 106 Cavalry and 773rd TD Bn. "A" Co 1st and 3rd plts on road to Lamath ... received heavy artillery fire. They pulled out to .... see the road leading from Xernanenil to Gerberviller. Fired on ey vehs on this road, knocked out 1Mk IV at road block. 2nd plt at Lamath knocked out 20mm AA gun and 2 MG nests. "B" Co 1st plt to Haudonville. 3rd plt fired direct at light trucks and cars moving at Gerberviller.

M4 Sherman medium tanks of the 749th Tank Battalion, attached to the 79th Infantry Division, lined up along a street in Luneville, France, in the fall of 1944.
M4 Sherman medium tanks of the 749th Tank Battalion, attached to the 79th Infantry Division, Luneville, France.

20 Sep: Luneville. Numerous tanks were reported on the Luneville-Baccarat road and some Infantry with tanks in Moncel. 313th with "A" Co moved into Luneville ... I tank hit by artillery N of town. EM (S/Sgt Cline) LWA and EM (Pvt Rotes) MIA as crew abandoned tank. "B" Co. with 314th moved into Fraimbois after cleaning out Gerberviller. 314th captured approx 50 ey vehs in the Bois De La Taxonniere. A bridge across the La Meurthe river was destroyed by the ey who took up a position E of the river (NE of Frambois). 2nd Plt atckd NE from Frambois [at Betaigne] with 3rd Bn 314th, encountered heavy S/A fire, AT fire. 2 tks were destroyed by 88mm guns and one tk was hit but is repairable (saved by use of sand bags on outside of Hill). Two EM (Sgt Payne, Cpl Ruggles) KIA; 2 EM Sgt Ellet and Pfc Cooley SWA and evac. 1 EM (Pfc O'Briskie) shock. Sgt Myers and Pfc Southerland LWA, not evac. "C" Co with 315th in Div Res.

21 Sep: La Muerthe River. "A" Co with 313th moved SE to Moncel [see description of this battle at: http://www.bbll.com/army/ch01.html], met increasing resistance including house to house fighting. Group of buildings just outside of town manned by ey. Buildings blasted by tank guns. Moncel captured and adv continued to woods E of town. Ey used several 120mm mortars and heavy artillery to halt adv. Proceeding further, ey AT gun ... fired upon tks. 1 EM, PFC Jordan, LWA. Tank believed to be Mark IV destroyed in town. 2nd Bn 313th crossed river and destroyed tank at edge of woods. "B" Co 3rd Plt in support of 3rd Bn 314th, fired on ey emplacements. Co under hvy artillery fire all day. 2 EM SWA from shrapnel Cpl Stiefel and Sgt Byke. 315th took over former pos of 313th E and NE of Luneville.

314th Infantry Crossing the Meurthe
Crossing the Meurthe

22 Sep La Muerthe River. 313th was c/atkd with tnks and Inf E of Moncel in the morning and in the afternoon. Both atks repulsed … ey lost 6 tks. Ey mortar and artillery fire particularly heavy in Moncel. 314th CT able to force a crossing of the La Meurthe River [near Frambois] with 5 Co’s ... against heavy machine gun and mortar. "B" Co sent 1st plat from vic Fraimbois at 1500 hours across La Muerthe River. Forded river under intense S/A fire and retrieved 2 tanks stuck in mud under heavy MG fire. Later during the day 3rd Plt plat moved behind 1st Plt, crossed and remained overnite with 2 Co’s of Inf and 1 plat TDs. "B" Co. assault gun hit on suspension system and directly on hill by 88 MM AT gun. No casualties resulted. Two EM, S/Sgtt Merrit, Pvt Marrone LWA, from MG fire. 2nd Plt in reserve.

23 Sep: Foret de Mondon. "B" Co 3rd plat atkd in support of 2nd bn, 314th. 1st Plt attacked with 3rd Bn 314th. Knocked out MG and flushed ey out of dug in pos. When they refused to be driven from their holes Infantrymen from the 314th adv and in close hand to hand fighting, bayoneted several of the ey in their holes. "A" Co MIA Pvt Rotes, found KIA from shrapnel [at Moncel]. 313th finds ey ammo dump E of Moncel that had several trucks of artillery rds. Late in the afternoon 313th and 314th met at St Georges’s Farm.

24 Sep: 314th ... clearing Foret de Mondon ... found 2 ey tks destroyed by interdictory artillery fire and found 6 light tanks and 3 assault guns ... belonging to an American Cav unit. The enemy had been making good use of the assault guns. 2nd French Armored Div occupied Thiebaumeail and Benamenil.

25 Sep: The ey reacted vigorously to all patrols operating in the vic Foret De Parroy. A patrol of the 314th recd S/A, mortar, and artillery fire. 106th Cal Gp operated north of the canal as well as the NW edge of the forest and drew considerable artillery fire.

26 Sep: Foret de Mondon. All patrol action around forest sharply contested by ey. 315th patrol ... SW of forest located a road block ... 4 tks and 2 plats. Caused patrol to withdraw. 106th Cavalry reported 2 ey Bns in NW of forest, and a large column of vehs and artillery turned N at Xures.

27 Sep: Planned attacks in Foret de Parroy by 313th and 315th canceled. A Corp artillery unit tried to establish an OP but was driven off by ey S/A, mortar, artillery fire. 106th Cav Gp established an OP and recd S/A fire rom the woods."B" Co and 314th in Div Res.

28 Sep: Foret de Parroy. Forest bombed by friendly aircraft. 313th with "A" Co and 315th with "C" Co atkd. Rptd 5 ey tks and 2 flat trajectory wpns. ... opposition increased as period wore on. "C" Co fired 120 rds of 75mm HE. ... pulled back to biv at 1830 hours. 749th Bn, with 79th Div, asngd to the 7th US Army.

29 Sep: Foret de Parroy. "C" Co supporting 313th ... fired ... destroying 3 Mk IV tks and 3 trks. Ey artillery most active during the period and shelled all units located in the woods. Lt Christenson SWA evac, Cpl Crisafulli LWA when jeep hit a mine.

30 Sep: Foret de Parroy. 313th and 315th continued attack in the forest, gaining over 1000 yds. 2 Mark IV tanks destroyed by 313th. 813th TD at 1800 fired at three tanks which retired to Burea. The towns of Marainviller and Bauzemont were heavily shelled (by Germans) during the period. "A" Co firing 300 rds by indirect fire.

Tanks in the Foret de Parroy
Tanks in the Foret de Parroy

1 Oct: Foret de Parroy. When 313th 2nd Bn held up by MG nests, 1 section of "B" Co. was sent up E-W road in center of Foret De Parroy. The lead tank fired N and S until stopped by Infantry officer because the Germans desired to surrender. ... 1 tank (American) was knocked out by a direct hit from an 88mm which penetrated through front and out through engine. Although inf. were riding atop, neither they nor tank crew were hurt. "A" Co also fired 500 rounds 75mm indirect fire. "C" Co with 315th at Crion to repel c/atk. At 1600 "C" moved to Henamenil to shell area of woods where activity was rptd by 106th Calvary. Marainviller was again extremely heavily shelled .... PW's 46.

2 Oct: Foret de Parroy. Enemy continues to bring new troops into the forest. Most trails in the forest found to be mined. New type of anti tk mine "Pappamine". Contains no metal, made of compressed paperboard, black in color, cannot be detected by usual means. PWs taken - 62.

3 Oct: Foret de Parroy. Henamenil was shelled in the morning. The ey contd to use artillery and mortars profusely. At 0900 ey atked with 1 Co of Inf and 2 tks; 314th forced to give up ground captured earlier in the day. "A" Co with 4 light tks, 3 med tks, 1 assault gun advd with 314th 2nd Bn. Captured 4 mortars, 3MGs at Phase Line "Maine"....proceeded to "Texas". Inf dug in, tanks returned to Phase Line "Nevada." PWs taken - 61.

4 Oct: Foret de Parroy. Patrols of 315th located a road block covered by automatic fire. 313th and 314th received artillery fire during the night. At 0700 314th repulsed an attack by tanks and Inf, knocking out one tank by bazooka fire. At 1300 314th and 315th moved forward against extremely heavy opposition. Artillery, mortar fire, 5 or 6 ey tanks delivered direct fire against 314th. "B" Co 3 tks ... ordered into night pos to support Inf. ...received ey tk and S/A fire upon starting engines. Woods in this vicinity very dense.

5 Oct: Foret de Parroy. 20-30 rds of 120mm mortar fire fell on Marainviller. 315th moved 700 yds SE in flanking move; leading Co of 1st Bn hit by Inf supported by 4 tks. Lost some ground, but by end of period 2 sqds were dug in on L side of the road. Ey inf could be heard digging in on S side of road. All tanks of 749th in biv.

6 Oct: Foret de Parroy. Patrol of 314th found ey foxholes abandoned. Later in the day another patrol of 314th was unable to enter the woods at the same spot because ey troops had reoccupied their former positions. W of the 15th grid line the 106th Cav Gp cleared the forest as far as the Rhine-Marne Canal. 315th engaged with ey tanks and Inf; I tk knocked out by bazooka. Marainviller was shelled heavily with 120mm mortars. 749th not active.

Additional Reading
  Operations of the 106th Calvary Group in the Foret de Parroy

  Through the Vosages to Strasbourg

  Foret de Parroy Battlebook

The Story of a Missing Tank Crew and its Discovery Decades Later

7 Oct: Foret de Parroy. Combat patrol of 1st Bn, 313th, sent NE of Marainviller to waylay an ey food and ammo truck. No contact. PWs confirm truck did not appear. Another patrol of 313th was able to get within 200 yds of the forest, ran into M/G nest of 10 men.

8 Oct: Foret de Parroy. Ey patrols encountered by 315th 2nd Bn outposts. A small ey atk against 2nd and 3rd Bns 315th CT by 2 tks and Inf at 1830 was broken up by artillery fire. Patrols of 106th Cav rptd M/G nest with 50 men and some bicycle troops.

9 Oct: Foret de Parroy. A (ey) tank from S edge of forest placed direct fire on Marainviller. 3 tks "B" company mission was to atk a strong point at road junction 709, 3 other tks to bypass strongpoint and with F Co 314th to atk and cut across roads 1000 yds N of road junction 709. Strong point defended by 3 Mark IV tanks, automatic weapons, mortars. In the atk plt ldr Lt B. Grouaski became a serious casualty when his tank was hit by a bazooka in the turret. ... a Res plat, commanded by Lt Mairowitz was admitted. While getting out of his tank ... (he) was hit in the shoulder by a rifle bullet. The 3 tks commanded by S/Sgt Rosencrantz ("B" Co) bypassed the strongpoint from the S and contd on.... Atk stalled at this strong point for 4 hrs due to heavy tank fire. Decision to go around the clearing and attack from the E. This was accomplished by a "C" Co plt ... just NW of the RJ after mortar smoke fire was placed on ey tanks. When the smoke cleared 2 ey tks were destroyed, one by Sgt Lee, "B" Co., and one by Sgt Malley, "C" Co., and one tk withdrew to the woods ... and was later destroyed by S/Sgt Merritt. "C" Co mission was to assist in reducing the strongpoint at RJ 709 and support 2nd Bn 315th to capture and hold RJ 718. I Plt commanded by Lt Lemmon was not able to maneuver to 709 due to ey tk fire, however later on the Plt did manage to assault the strongpoint. In so doing they destroyed one MK IV tk and flushed one which "B" Co destroyed. Another "C" Co Plat commanded by Lt Grigsby in support of 315th...at RJ 710 … 1 tk mired down ... Lt Grigsby led tks on foot. Lts Berounsky and Mairwitz, Pvts Niksich and Regan SWA. S/Sgt Lewis, Pvt T. Smith, R Hale LWA. Cpl Clark KIA. "C" Co one tk destroyed, 2 Em SWA, 2 EM LWA, 1 EM MIA.

10 Oct: Foret de Parroy. Extensive patrolling by all regiments of 79th. 106th Cav Sq engaged a group of inf shortly before dark. Patrols find no ey in SE part of the forest. 749th in biv. Combat efficiency impaired due to needed supplies of 76mm and 105mm ammo

11 Oct: Foret de Parroy. Enemy still occupies ground on W edge of Forest. Enemy line Vaucourt-Embermenil-Domjevin. 315th patrols N and E of the forest; no ey contact. The 121st Cav encountered art fire, occupied Mouacourt, Parroy, Coincourt. 1 EM Dilworth, LWA, from shrapnel.

12 Oct: Foret de Parroy. Battalion Hg moved to Marainviller.

13 Oct: Foret de Parroy. Embermenil. artillery fire on 313th and 314th at dawn. Ey bicycle troops and horse-drawn artillery were obs ....79th Rcn reported ey dug in on crest and forward slopes of hill N and NW of Embermenil. 3 ey tanks reported. "A" company 2nd and 3rd platoons .... supporting 313th on atk of Embermenil. Tnks ordered to L of town to get a field of fire. Approaching phase line #14 encountered ey AT fire, destroying 2 tks in 2nd plat and 1 tk in 3rd plat. Both plat ldrs being casualties ... Of one crew: one EM, Sullivan, SWA, 4 others, Lt. Herring, Cook, returned, Weskerman, and Dixson, story incomplete. Of another crew, 2 EM casualty Pfc Cullen and Pvt Lang, 3 EM LWA, Sgt Bullock, Cpl Carver, T/5 Brown Of another crew one Off. Lt Lemberg LWA; Lt. Webben, SWA , At 1800 hrs. "A" Co. ordered to withdraw ... 4 tks out of action; one hit on suspension system, 2 burned (hit by AT) and one hit by AT and also burned. Casualties: known 3 officers, plat ldrs. Lt Webben, Lt Lemberg, Lt Herring and 3 EM, unknown 3 possibly. Embermenil captured by 313th late in afternoon. "B" Co with 314th captured Fort de Manonviller.

14 Oct: Foret de Parroy. Embermenil. "B" Co. ... Capt Woods and Bn Comdr went on foot ... Capt Woods (LWA) was hit by mortar or artillery shrapnel in arm. Co "B" with 314th inf adv to take 2 hills protected by barbed wire, concertina wire, mines, booby traps ... near phase line #13. ... Adv beyond this point stalled by strong ey artillery, mortar, SA fire. Permission granted to "B" Co. to retire ... for refueling and reloading ammo. "C" Co with 3rd Bn 313th attkd at 1510 with 7 tks; managed to adv to south at slightly E of town The 3rd Plt "C" Co plus 3 tks of 2nd Plt got stuck at LD. 1st Plt advd on obj against artillery fire. 3 ey AT guns, 4 MG nests, 1 AA gun knocked out by 1st Plt. 1 tk out of action from mine. Another tk hit by AT gun and burned. Plat Ldr, Lt McCrea LWI. Inf withdrawn due to heavy artillery fire. ...Combat efficiency poor due to lack of plat ldrs in "A" Co., 2 officers in "B" Co. "C" Co. has only 3 tks - 10 stuck in marsh.

15 Oct: Foret de Parroy. Patrol of 315th captured 1 Plt of the 3rd Co, 115th Panzer Rcn Bn. All patrols unable to adv far because of heavy MG and mortar fire. Patrols from 79 Rcn found the ey dug in; 106th rpts the same in its sector. A 749th tk destroyed 1 Mk IV tk and the 813th TD knocked out an SP 75mm gun... . 313th reptd ey inf advg at R flank of 2nd Bn at 0545, but our artillery broke up the atk. 313th patrol rptd German mortar fire near a church at Domjevin. 106th Cav Sq found ey still dug in at the front of its sector. "B" Co. had 6 tks which stayed on front lines during nite; move back to biv area at 1000 hrs. At approx 0001 hrs tk motors were heard coming up road from the S from Veho. Tk crews thought motors were friendly TDs but as the 2 tks advd across front of "B" Co front line def pos, veh and personnel were unidentified but as it approached the 2nd plt "B" Co tk stopped directly in front and personnel spoke in their native tongue (German) shouting "Hello". Tk Comdr Eck replied with 2 shells of 75mm destroying tk at (239021) and shot comdr as he attempted to get out from turret. Entire crew killed and tk burned.. As "B" Co. tks pulled back ... ey MG nest was wiped out causing 20-25 ey to surrender. Captain Redford assumed command due to injuries sustained by Capt Woods. "C" Co, 8 tks recovered (from marsh).

16 Oct: Near Domjevin. At 0430 3rd Bn 314th was attkd by a Bn of ey Inf supported by 9 tanks. Nearly 50 Germans were captured during this action. 313th and 314th receive heavy artillery and mortar fire. A large enemy column of vehs, horse-drawn wagons, and foot troops was seen near Montigny. Fire from our artillery claimed 10 vehs, 2 horse-drawn wagons and injured about 150 troops. One "B" Co. tk put out of action by hitting mines. One EM, Hasenflue, SWA, broke arm jumping from tk, one EM, Kotowich, LWA, not evac. About 1615 hrs, area received hvy artillery barrage, 2 tks receiving direct hits, one of which is unable to move, one EM, Niksish WIA. T/5 Gregory (driver), KIA, while eating, heat from stove detonated 20mm AA shell buried in ground. Gentile, LWA, not evac. After dark, ... 313th ... some Germans could be heard a few hundred yards in front ... enemy recovered some of pos lost previous day with 4 tks and Inf "C" Co 2 tks in marsh up to hill. Recovery ... futile.

17 Oct: Domjevin. After the sound of tracked vehs had been heard … an enemy Bn supported by tanks attacked 313th and 3rd Bn 314th at 0300. 46 soldiers of the 1120th Gren Regt surrendered. At 0900 our artillery fired at 3 tks. 106th Cav Gp reptd a possible ey withdrawal from their sector to new line Lagarde-Remoncourt. "B" Co. Three 1st pltn tks under Lt McProuty retook ground ...2 EM Merritt and Ruggiero, LWA ... direct hit from artillery on front plate. 43 Pws taken. One EM, Sacre, battle fatigue. Another tank hit by artillery or mortar fire on back plate - N/C. Major Barron, SWA, broken leg, kneecap, rib, punctured lung and head cuts; was regtl Ln 0ff. from 749th (executive 0ff) resulted from head on collision with French 1/2 track driving on wrong side of road at 0500 hrs. Div res at Manonviller.

19 Oct: Embermenil. Per FO #21, The 10th Cav Gp with the 44th Rcn Tr will assist 79th Inf Div by demonstration by fire .... to seize and hold div obj. 314th Inf Reg, 79th Div, with "D" Co 749th, will adv rapidly to obj leaving elm to hold pos ... . "C" Co 749th Tk Bn attchd 315th Inf Reg will seize the B. Henry area and the high ground N of Embermenil. The 813 TD Bn to provide support with particular attention to the zone of the 314th and the adv of the 749th Tk Bn. Patrols from 313th sent to Bois De L' Ourbon encountered MG and rifle fire and was harassed by mortar and artillery fire. The 105th Cal Gp rptd ey dug in in their sector.

21 Oct: Embermenil. The following units now atchd 79th Div will be atchd to 44th Inf Div ...

Ey front lines on E slope of high ground E of Embermenil. All three rgmts jumped off in atk at 0635, meeting resistance from light to extremely heavy. "A" Co in support of 313th atk three hills, 1 tk hit by ey tks, one hit by AT mine. EM LWA T/4 Hash. "B" Co. with 314th moved at 0700 ... into Le Rembois Foret, 1 tank stuck. 2 tanks knocked out by mines along RR tracks. 2 EM, LWA, not evac, Lt Moore, Sgt Eck. Sgt Wanak. ... Assisted in taking 50 Pws. "C" Co with 315th SE of Embermenil 2 tks rendered inactive by ey mines, 2 tks knocked out by direct ey fire, another tk mired in marshy area. Ey tks encountered and hvy fighting took place. One of our tks was knocked out, 2 ey tanks demolished. 7 EM, LWA. Withdrew at 1700. A group of 6 tanks prevented the 313th and 315th from linking up in the afternoon. 4 ey tanks knocked out by 813th TD Bn. Near the end of the day strong ey patrols were attempting to penetrate the pos of 2nd Bn 313th. The 114th (44th division) received sporadic artillery fire. "A" Co tnks knocked out 7 days ago (13 Oct) was found destroyed with 2 men KIA and 1 EM living. Survivor treated both men but they died on Sunday. Survivor Pfc Weskerna found in tank after hiding from Germans for 8 days. Reported Lt Herring DOW 15 Oct after having leg amputated by German medics. Dixon died 16 Oct after having one arm and one leg amputated by German medics.

22 Oct: Embermenil. Heavy ey artillery and mortar fire fell in area all day. Ground too marshy for maneuvering. 315th with "C" Co at N-S road EMBERMENIL met stiff resistance … ey tks opposed … 2 were knocked out. 314th with "B" Co (firing indirect in woods) encountered ey in E half of Le Remabois Woods. Upon taking position, "B" Co tanks drew very hvy artillery fire ....Co Comdr with plat ldrs made foot recon. Ey in woods immediate front. Fired ... killing 25-30 ey. C/atk repelled, taking several PWs and 1 88mm gun. 2 EM LWA Sgt Adams and Sgt Pingel.

23 Oct: Embermenil. Area heavily shelled during period. Tks were heard thru out the night. Heavy artillery until 2400, then heavy again at 0600 on pos 313th. "A" Co with 313th ... 2 Bns (German) atkd with tanks. Atk repulsed. 3 tks and 150 men atkd 315th and 2 ey tks destroyed. More groups of tks and infantry ... 4 more tks knocked out. Hvy concentrations of artillery received all nite and during the day. 1 tk received direct hit on turret ... no casualties.

24 Oct: Embermenil. Considerable tk activity heard ... 0500. At 0705 ... 315th was atkd by est ey Bn and 5 tks. One of our Cos. was forced ... to fall back ... Throughout the day activity persisted in front of our pos. 10 (ey) tks destroyed. Considerable ey artillery fell thru out the day. A horse-drawn vehicular column carrying an est Co of riflemen was discovered by flares and fired on. At 1000 "A" Co atkd with G Co of 315th. Saw 5 ey tanks E of 315th pos. "A" Co ordered to take pos to fire on the tanks and 2 "A" Co. tks destroyed completely. One EM SWA, Black. One LWA, Osso. "C" Co remained in adv pos to repel c/atk in the morning; Ey tanks lost to "C" Co was 3. "B" Co. remained in assembly Manonviller.

Letter from Hqs 79th Inf Div: "The 79th Inf Div, with atchd units, has aided in the almost complete destruction of (ey) units: 77th Inf Div, 91st Inf Div, 709th Inf Div, 353d Inf Div, 18th CAF Div, 16th Inf Div, 15th Pz Gr Div."

25 Oct: Embermenil. During previous nite and early morning 24 Oct and 25 Oct, ey shelled our front lines and area back to Bn Cps (Manonviller) ...At 1845 ey force of unk size effected penetration 2000 yds SE of Embermenil. 324th (44th Inf Div) with "C" Co c/atkd and at 2125 our line was restored.At 2345 ey continued attack with 4-5 tks and unknown Inf strength. One Off and 2 EM, LWA and evac: Lt Kaufman (not evac), Lillard and Cangdon from mortar shrapnel while recovering a tk.

Relief of 79th Division by 44th Division was completed.

27 Oct: Xousse. Enemy artillery fired on 2 lt tks towing 57mm guns. 2 EM, WIL-1 SWA, T/4 Hansman from mortar fire. One LWA, Sgt Wilson from mortar fire. There are signs of (ey) withdrawal.

28 Oct: Leintrey. ...(ey) music followed by loudspeaker... swing music and talking. Excerpt: "Give up your arms. We will treat you well ...." Ey PWs … deserting reptd they had not eaten for 3 days.

29 Oct: Domjevin. Combat patrol 114th Inf at 0500 atkd ey pos destroying 1 MG and 1 heavy mortar. Patrol withdrew under heavy mortar fire. Ey motorized columns moving forward were forced by artillery fire to disperse.

30 Oct: Domjevin. Ey patrol est at 9 men at 0300 … captured 1 and wounded 2 of 4-man MP post. "B" Co 15 rds per tank to be fired at night in support of 17th FA Bn; target to be road E of Domjevin.

31 Oct: Domjevin. "A", "B", "C" Co support 208th FA Bn in harrassing fire - 2 rds per tank per hour, into Leintrey, Domjevin, vic E of Embermenil. 776th Tank Bn completed relief of 813th TD Bn.

1 Nov: Domjevin. Cold and frosty during nite. (ey) shelling of Embermenil resumed after 3 days. Ey loudspeaker ... identified presence of 44th Inf Div, ... inviting surrender. "This is the 120th day of continuous action."

2 Nov: Domjevin. One of our patrols consisting of 2 men encountered 2 Germans in foxholes. One of our men pretended he was a German and talked to them saying he was wounded and had been behind the US lines for 2 days and needed aid. The Germans requested aid by phone but would not come out of holes. On the approach of ey force to render aid requested, our patrol withdrew. 71st Inf Div reports ey evacuated Le Remabois woods.

71st Digging in at Emberménil
71st Digging in at Emberménil

3 Nov: Embermenil shelled at 1815A ... (and) CP 71st Inf at 2110A. ...extenive minefields made advance during the dark inadvisable. "B" Co at Domjevin.

4 Nov: Domjevin. 17 ey tanks reported at Domevre (E of Domjevin). Ey installation camouflaged as a haystack was set on fire and exploded.

6 Nov: Domjevin. A PW reports horses at night bringing wood SW from Remoncourt to make overhead covers for foxholes. Rain, visibility poor. artillery fire received in Domjevin; report of light blinking in the town five minutes before shelling began.

7 Nov: Leintrey. "A" Co 1 Plt attchd 71st and "C" Co 1 Plt attchd 324th fired indirect at Remoncourt. "B" Co 1 Plt set up for night indirect fire.

9 Nov: Domjevin. A patrol in the dark was addressed in German by ey troops who appeared surprised at lack of response, running around in excited manner.

11 Nov: Domjevin. Ey artillery fell in Domjevin and Manonviller. Large column of ey vehicles seen moving to Domevre. About 1000 a German Radio Station on Div frequency tried ro engage Div Operations in conversation. "B" Co and 1 Plt "D" Co assgnd to 79th Div for pending operation[Editor: Through the Saverne Gap to Hagenau].

12 Nov: Cold with rain, hail and snow, poor visibility.

13 Nov: 71st Inf attacked Leintry 3 Bn’s abreast. "A" Co with 71st jumped off 0630... Enemy resisted our advance Remoncourt tenaciously, utilizing WWI pillboxes … with superior fields of observation, which were enhanced by the snow covering. 2 med tanks out of action due to mines. "B" Co and 1 plt light tanks from "D" with 314th and 315th at Ancerviller. 114th 3rd and 1st Bn’s maintaining patrols E of Bois de Remabois.

14 Nov: Enemy regiment ... came by train from Trenchen, Czechoslavakia and has a good percentage of Czechs. German agent Daneil Quart, Alsatian, arrested while infiltrating ... Remoncourt: As a result of intense enemy fire ... only minor gains were noted. "A" Co moved out on assault on Bois Des Amien. Due to heavy artillery fire ... 71st Inf with "A" Co. 1st and 3rd Plt tanks were unable to advance, gained only 500 yds at end of day. 324th L Co with "C" Co ... fire from a flat trajectory weapon believed to be a high velocity prevented movement. 2 tanks hit by artillery fire … no damage. Mc Crea (plat ldr) SWA, shrapnel in legs and arms while out of tank. "D" Co with 79th 314th and 315th at St Pole and Ancerviller. 40 PWs. 1 "D" Co tank knocked out by bazooka fire. Sgt. Garvey, LWA by woman sniper in German uniform. 1 tank stuck, 1 tank engine trouble. Tanks replenished with gas and ammo during the night.

2nd French Armored Division M10 Halloville, France 13 November 1944
2nd French Armored Division M10 Halloville, France 13 November 1944

15 Nov: Hallovile/Leintrey. "A" Co with 71st Div ... in atck S of Bois de Amienbois. Cpl Osso and Cpl Rink combat exhaustion. 5 ey MG nests destroyed. Lt Conway returned to duty. Halloville and Harbouey taken by 314th and 315th. 1st Bn 315th with "C" Co ... to support 114th in atck. Cpl Mual LWA upper lip by shrapnel. "B" Co 1 tank out in Support at Pole, 8 tanks supported advance to take Halloville, ... Harbuey. 3 enemy tanks obs near town. 7 ey assault guns and 4 AT guns destroyed, 100 Pws. Only 5 tanks left for attack. 100 PWs at Harbouey. 7 enemy Mark IV assault guns and 4 AT guns destroyed by "B" Co. 813 TD Bn knocked out 3 Mark IV tanks, 2 Mark IV tanks, 1 ½ track, 1 self-propelled gun, 2 staff cars.

16 Nov: Amenincourt. "A" Co to support 3rd Bn 71st Inf Regt ... Amenincourt and Igney. 1st plat plus 3 assault guns took position on high ground at 1500 yds and 2nd plat (400yds) at edge of woods. Plts fire on Amenincourt until 71st entered the town. "C" Co to Avricourt with 324th. . Lt Lemmon evac - combat exhaustion. During the nite 313th heard movement ... placed 40 mortar. Patrols counted 45 Germans killed. "B" Co moved out at 0735 with 314th (4 tanks) and 315th (2 tanks) to atk Blamont. T/5 Engle, combat exhaustion. 1 tank stuck. Pfc Redal SWA, Pvt Defrisee LWA, S/Sgt Hayden LWA. 1 tank in crater and covered by Engrs. 1 med tank hit mine. 2nd Lts Ashby, Moore, Grigsby promoted to 1st Lts.

17 Nov: Igney. PW reports heavy loses in horses, forcing men to pull Town Hows by hand in withdrawal. "A" Co with 71st "D" captured Igney and Amenincourt. "C" Co with 324th … 3rd pltn moved out ... Avricourt, knocking 3 M/G nests outskirts of town. ... 12 M/G nests were destroyed in the town and many Germans killed. Tank crews dismount and assist Inf in cleaning out houses. 124 Pws. I Plt "D" Co with 114th ar Bos de La Gfarrene. "B" Co with 314th and 315th at Blamont ... held up by AT fire. Ey holds high ground … S/Sgt Rosencrantz, Pfc Dedrick, LWA, stayed for full duty. Eight tanks rolling. Elms of 2nd Fr Armd Div occupied Badonviller.

18 Nov: Autrepierre. "A" Co one plat to Autrepierre to support 2nd Bn 71st Inf. 5 ey M/Gs destroyed and many Germans killed, 25 PWs."C" Co attached 324th from Avricourt to Rechicourt and Bois De Retzing 8 M/Gs destroyed, 40-50 Pws. Aided by 106th Cavalry unit. EM WIA Cpl Cripe LWA, Pfc Lawson SWA. "B" Co with 314th 2nd Bn to Fremonviller ... Heavy ey opposition … S/A, mortar, artillery encountered all day. "B" Co 1st Plt fired 350 rounds on town. 9 tanks for duty.

19 Nov: Richeval: Enemy delayed our advance, especially when threatened and fired on by SS men in their rear, as was obs on 1 occasion. "A" Co with 1st and 3rd BNs 71st … 2 Cos. Riding on tanks, remainder on foot …from Foulcrey to Ibigney. Tanks destroyed AT 88mm, 2 ammo trucks, 2 bazookas, SP gun, 2 MG's, and took 200 PWs. L Co tank hit by ey 20mm AA gun with one round penetrating telescopic site and wounding (LWA) 3 of crew Cpl Pappas, Sgt Hansen, Pvt Hansen). Another tank hit on periscope by artillery … no damage. "C" Co. with 324th at Bois de Ketzing... subjected to heavy and intense artillery and bazooka fire. Inf pinned down. Ey tanks encountered.3rd Plt tank scored direct hit on MK IV. Co. Cmdr., Lt. Veney, SWA, and plat ldr Lt Grigsby evac (combat exhaustion). 1 tank "C" Co hit on bedrolls by bazooka from 50-75 yards, bazooka was destroyed. Capt Swenson assumed command "C" Co. Destroyed 5 M/G, 3 vehicles, 6 pillboxes, 10 PWs. "B" CO with 313th, attacked N of Blamont, no ey encountered.

20 November - 15 December 1944, Saverne Gap, Strasbourg, Bitche, Maginot Line

After the long battle for the Foret De Parroy and our forces having reached Sarrebourg, the 749th Battalion, supporting both the 79th and 44th Infantry Divisions, was broken into two parts. "B" Company 2nd and 3rd platoons and one platoon of "D" Company, with the 314th Infantry Regiment (of the 79th Division) quickly passed through the Saverne Gap and took part in the battle for Strasbourg for 10 days. The rest of the 749th stayed west of the Saverne Gap and the Vosges Forest and began the drive north which would lead to Rohrbach and Bitche. The "B" and "D" platoons rejoined the rest of the Battalion on the 1st of December.

By the 8th of December the 749th had reached Rohrbach. Battles became fierce, and the rapid advances that Allies made over the previous 3 weeks came to an end. The reason, of course, was that the German buildup for the Battle of the Bulge, which started December 16th, was just a few miles away from the position of the 749th. The Maginot Line was reached just before the Battle of the Bulge began.

Cities: Sarrebourg, Hilbesheim, Lixheim, Phalsbourg, Saverne, Ingwiller, Bouxwiller, Uhrwiller, Engwiller, Pfaffenhoffen, Grassendorf, Uhlwiller, Burstheim, Wintershouse, Haguenau, Gries, Brumath, Hoerdt, Hochstett, Bischwiller, Herange, Dabo, Hatmatt, Hangviller, La Petite-Pierre, Bust, Rauwiller, Fenetrange, Eschwiller, Hirschland, Schalbach, Siewiller, Drulingen, Petersbach, Bettwiller, Eywiller, Struth, Rexingen, Rimsdorf, Tieffenbach, Waldambach, Volksberg, Ratzwiller, Montbronn, Bining, Rohrbach, Meyerhoff, Enchenberg, Siersthal, Petit-Rederching, Lambach, Simserhoff, Bitche, Hottviller, Schorbach.

Distance: 130 miles, 23 days

Allied Units: 44th Infantry Division - 71st/114th/324th Regiments (7th Army), 79th Infantry Division (7th Army) - 313th/314th/315th Regiments, 25th Cavalry Squad (4th Armored Division), 100th Infantry Division (7th Army), 12 Armored Division, 663rd Engineers, 45th Division/157th Inf.

German Units: 553rd Infantry Division, 361st Artillery Regiment, 361st Infantry Division, 812 Fortress Battalion, 1306 Artillery Regiment, Assault Battalion OAK-1, 103rd Panzer Division, 953rd Infantry Division. 401st FA Regiment, 25th Panzer Division, 130th Panzer LEHR, 110 Panzer Regiment, 11th Panzer Division. 119th Panzer Regiment, 21st Panzer Division, 901st PG Regiment, 902st PG Regiment, 736 AA Bn, 9th AA Division, March Bn "B" Assault Bn GRW, 1/119 Pz Gr R, BG Ostertag.

20 Nov: Light contact .... at Langatte, Haut Clocher, Sarrebourg. EY attempted to delay our advance S of Marne-Rhine Canal. PW states that his mission was to blow Xouaxange bridge. 324th attacked ... seized Langatte and Hautclocher. 71st Inf attacked ... seized Bebing. "A" Co supporting 71st Inf to Sarrebourg. Destroyed 5 M/G, 88mm AT, ammo truck, 3 120mm mortars, 1 heavy artillery piece, 3 cargo trucks, 2 staff cars. "B" Co, .... to lead CT 4 road march on Saverne Gap. Moved to Blamont from Nitting. 1st Plt (Lt Moore) and light tank plt to lead CT4 on Saverne Gap. "C" Co with 324th to Heming. After tanks crossed the Rhine-Marne Canal, ey blew bridge. Engineers repairing bridge … pinned down by M/G fire. Hq Co Tank fired on M/G positions … firing stopped. Lt. McProuty assumed command Co "D" to replace Lt. Coney, LWA, on 19 Nov. Pvt Marshall(Sv Co) LWA. "B" Co 2nd and 3rd plts with 315th regt … road march to Saverne Gap.

21 Nov: Many PW's captured by 71st Regt (44th Div) ... had small metal discs to be used, they stated, to mark gassed areas. 114th occupied high ground Sarrebourg. 314th I and R killed a group of ey near Heming just as they were preparing to blow up one of the few remaining bridges. 315th advances with 2nd French Armored Division.

22 Nov: Two PW’s, 57 years old, from MP Trg. Co.

23 Nov: "B" Co. with atchmts (79th Div) moved with 11 tanks from St Jean Kaurtzerade to Monswiller through Saverne. 2nd Plat. "D" Co, ... moved out ... to join "B" Co....

24 Nov: Enemy in c/atkg force at Rauwiller appeared confused. They dove into same shelters with our troops during shelling and although ey greatly outnumbered our forces, permitted them (our forces) to escape in most instances. "B" Co. arrived in Hordt through Brumath. Civilians report 50 ey tanks vicinity Hagenau. Panzer Div reported moving to intercept 7th army.

25 Nov: Rauwiller: 71st and 157th Inf forced by 22 tnks with inf to withdraw from Rauwiller. C/atk with 8 tanks from "C" Co. successful, retaken. "B" Co. 1st plat with 2nd Bn 314th went into woods S of Hordt and took 200 Pws and 7 officers. 3rd plat with 315th. Lt Moore and Pvt Peek, KIA. Pvt Bounds, battle exhaustion (not evac). Cpl Ruggiero and Pfc Farman LWA, not evac. T/4 Moran SWA and Pvt Hook LWA. 2 tks destroyed by ey AT guns and artillery. Eye witness story by Lt Hersh concerning Lt Moore's gallantry: "Lt William Moore ... spearheaded every Inf atk from Montigny, Ancerviller, Halloville, Fremonville, Baccarat, and Blamont. ... he insisted on leading whatever tanks were available. ... Moore constantly remained in front from dawn to dusk. Because of ey fire and maintenance difficulties encountered, ... transferred to 7 different tanks. Two ... were hit by direct ey fire ... climbed into other tanks and continued ... Lt Moore was hit by an "88" and the tank went up in flames ... this man could be seen fighting to lift himself out. He fought to the very end....". Co. "D" Pvt Sutter LWA.

27 Nov: "A" Co, Hilbesheim, "D" Herange, "C" Lixheim, "B" Brumath. PW reports he helped unload tank regt Sarrenden. Civilians Haguenau report 48 carloads of men and 8 large tanks. PW states ey employing new Tiger II during Rauwiller 24-25 Nov. Weighs about 48 tons heavily armored with heavy apron over bogies and has HV 75mm with muzzle-break. Civilians report ... 30 ey tanks Ringeldorf, 7 tanks at Kindwiller, 8 tanks Ingwiller, 30 tanks Eywiller, 20 tanks Paffennoffen. 314th reported 2 road blocks and chopping sounds in the woods in Bois De Gries.

28 Nov: It has come to the attention of this Hq that German agents... are reported to be circulating among British and American soldiers in wine shops, barber shops ... attempting to stir up ill feeling between them. "D" Co. plat with "B" Co. had one tank stuck in mud, one casualty, Sgt Baker. LWA ... guarding tank in Struth, shrapnel in arm. "B" Co. 2nd plat supported 314th in atk from Weighruch to Niederschaeffolscheim. Atk stopped because tanks were bogged down in mud. S/Sgt Rosencrantz received battlefield promotion. ... "C" Co, carrying 3rd Co 114th on board, arrived Struth, attacked Tiffenbach. Heavy mortar, artillery, and machinegun fire from high ground N of Tiffenabch. Tanks ran into road block (rocks and timber) too large to surmount, fired into town from high ground. 315th encountered mortar fire and ey patrols during night patrols. Received stiff small arms, mortar, art fire in advance on Batzendorf and Wintershausen. 71st Div attached 4th Armored Div.

29 Nov: "B" Co. with one plat "D" Co attached 79th Div were to atck Hagenau 1200. 120mm mortar destroyed, 24 Pws taken. 749th relsd from 79th Div and to be atchd to 44th Division ... moved from ... Brumath through Saverne to Bursheid. Lt. Conway assumes command of "A" Co. "C" Co with 114th/44th Div encountered heavy S/A, AW ,artillery, and mortar fire E of Tiffenbach while crossing RR. 114th/K Co pinned down after crossing.

1 Dec: MiI reports 1500 enemy stragglers vic Dabo with mission getting through and reaching Bitche. Lt Bertram Kaufman assumes command of "B" Co. Capt Redford to S-3.This is the 150th day of continuous action (for the 749th). "D" Co 1 EM Pvt Sutter LWA.

2 Dec: PW states that air atk of approx 1400 on Waldambach almost totally destroyed enemy artillery supply column. 324th/1st Bn with "A" Co at eastern edge Waldambach and the 2nd Bn 500 yds W of Waldambach stalled by severe enemy resistance, direct fire of 20mm guns. Two 88mm, one armored veh, 4 M/G nests destroyed. Extensive destruction of routes and bridges prevented adequate close support of tanks and TDs. 114th/3rd Bn: a Company of ey attacked from north with 7 tracked vehicles, infiltrating into Weissenlingen. About 40 were killed or captured by close-in fighting. Remainder dispersed by fire while in vehicles or while dismounting.

3 Dec: Volksberg. Enemy resistance was tenacious ...in Grunewald woods N of Waldambach ... and Volksberg ...most aggressive troops yet encountered, held until engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Ey patrols very active at night. Sounds of tracked vehicles reported after dark. New tanks reported with rocket carriers containing 24 rockets with range 2-3 Kms. 15 civilians in Adamswiller objected to our troops in town. "A" Co platoon with 44th Div/324th 1st Bn at Waldambach unable to move forward ... due to unfavorable terrain ...bridges out, mines along roads. Heavy fire encountered ... tank knocked out by enemy AT gun, destroyed. "C" Co with 114th stopped by road blocks and mines. Troops pinned down 500 yds S of Volksberg.

4 Dec: Ratzweiller/Butten: PWs report 20 tanks Butten. "A" Co. 1st and 3rd platoons with light tanks and assault guns... and 1st platoon "B" Co. in atk with 324th/3rd Bn along road to Ratzwiller. Co. was forced to withdraw because of direct heavy AT fire ... loss of one tank. Two EM KIA, Pvt Robinson and Stefani. One EM, Cpl Melton, amputation right foot. One EM LWA, T/4 Perry, shell fragment right thigh. Pvt Jarvis, LWA not evac. Co. "C" at Weisslingen. One EM, Stein, "D" Co., evac combat exhaustion. One EM, S/Sgt Lazlo, LWA hit by shrapnel right arm. Lt Leighton "A" Co. on phone to locate "B" Co. platoon (W/Lt Rosencranz in charge) - thru misunderstanding platoon was relieved from "A". S-3 and Maint Officer went to G-3 44th Div CP to discuss combat efficiency (poor) in regard to equipment. 114th /1st Bn adv to Volksberg, pinned down by AW and mortar fire 400 yds W of town. Friendly artillery fire placed …. and Inf moved to edge of town. 324th 2nd Bn put finishing touches on Diemeringen.

6 Dec: Enemy front Enchenberg. Troops warned that camouflaged dynamite found in coal pile. "A" Co. Waldhambach, "B" Co. Butten, "C" Co. Montbron, "D" Co. Siewiller. Weather and visibility overcast, damp, visibility poor to fair. Combat Efficiency - fair (equipment unreliable). "C" Co with 114th atck Montbronn. Ey demolition group surprised on road by 114th and unable to complete mission. No resistance until E edge of town, encountering 20mm AA fire directed at personnel. "B" Co. adv with 1st and 2nd Bn 324th from Buten to 2000 yds SE Bining. Two tanks drop out along adv with mechanical defect. Three EM, LWA, PFC Farman, PFC Dedrick, S/SGT Lee ... Lee injured by what was believed friendly partillery.

7 Dec: Rohrbach/Enchenberg: most intense artillery fire yet encountered. PW estimated (ey) strength of about 2000 troops in Bitche, Maginot Line manned only at a few strong points. On 4 Dec he saw 15 tanks, tigers and panthers, at Bitche. "B" Co. with 324th atk E of Bining, tanks hit by heavy ey artillery which pinned down Inf. Tanks withdrew to defensive position to allow Inf to advance. One tank with bogie wheel blown off. "C" co with 114th /1st & 2nd Bn atk on Enchenberg held up at S edge of town by collapsed bridge and heavy ey fire. 2nd Bn stopped by heavy mortar fire N of town, also direct fire from ey tank behind barricade. 220 FA reports killing many ey in foxholes by timed fire.

8 Dec: Rohrbach/Enchenberg: One PW states that men of his unit ... did not know in which direction the Americans lay. He reports that ... German MPs blacked-marked 4,600 military vehicles in Sep and Oct because they had fled France without authorization. Luftwaffe pilots coming as replacements. Sgt Hanson, LWA, not evac. T/4 LWA right temple. Lt Christensen from SWA. Sept 29th 1944, DOW on this date. Bn FM calls changed: "A", Texas. "B", Mexico. "C", Virginia. "D", Michigan.

9 Dec: Rohrbach/Enchenberg: Enemy continues his tenacious resistance of Rohrbach and Enchenberg. Roads for 600 yds E of Rohrbach mined. PW reported that all 60 EM of Assault Bn GHQ were resting in bars when our artillery fired. 37 men walked out. Fighting in this sector was the bitterest yet encountered. 114th atk Enchenberg. "B" Co. ... defensive position E of Bining. At 1625A S-3 called G-3 recommending that "A" Co. not be moved during hours of darkness due to .... marshy ground on both sides of road.

10 Dec: Maierhoff/Enchenberg: "B" Co. from E of Bining atkd at 1400 on Maierhoff supporting 324th / 2nd Bn (1st Bn to the right of the town, 2nd Bn to the left). 1st Bn adv slow due to heavy artillery, mortar, AW, SA fire. 2nd Bn atk relieves pressure on 1st Bn, continued N to EW road from Rohrbach to Maierhoff where tanks were stopped due to large crater. Co. remained there for the night. One medium tank hit an unusually large mine ... destroyed. No casualties. One EM from light tank (LW) Pfc Fetter, hit by shrapnel.

11 Dec: Petit Rederching : "A" Company attchd 71st at Montbron. "B" Com. attchd 324th south of Maierhoff. "C" Co (attchd 114th) Encenberg. "D" Co Butten. Enemy front lines - northern edge Petit Rederching. The MAGINOT LINE at barrier 800 (yds) to our front and composed of RR rails set in concrete facing N. 71st Division … to seize the high ground vic Fromuhl. 12 (ey) tanks atkd 12th Armored Div along RR NE Rohrbach; One tank knocked out, 11 withdrew to Petit Rederching. Co. B (atchd 324th) between Meyerhoff and Petit Rederching) ... at 1115A resumed the adv on Petit Rederching with the atkg Inf elements engaging enemy armor on their front. 2nd Bn met with heavy direct fire from MGs and 88mm’s at S limits of town. Supporting tanks were not wholly effective and as a consequence the enemy armor, estimated at 10 tanks, was able to fire almost unhindered down the streets and along the edge of town. At 1145 "B" Co. jumped off from Maierhoff atkg Petit Rederching. Two Tiger Mark VI enemy tanks were slushed by 12th US Armd Div on left flank to regain ... N of Petit Rederching. Atk held up for approximately one hour until TD could knockout two tigers. [The TD] was destroyed by enemy tank. One EM KIA, Cpl Mayhill [Editor: Paul Rayhill]; three EM wounds; SGT MINIELLI, and T/5 Griffin, SWA and evac, other EM and evac, PVT Hoyle. Tanks then proceeded to attack Petit Rederching. Obj taken. 324th enters Petit Rederching against intense artillery, mortar, tank cannon, and MG fire. Ist Lt Kaufman relieved of command and Capt James J Woods assumes command. Capt James F Redford, S-3 and temporarily acting "B" Co commander, KIA, while standing near TD which was destroyed by enemy fire (Shrapnel in back and both legs) - DOW at aid station. At 1345 11 tanks (ey) withdrawing ... NW to Bettviller. Capt Coney assumes command of Co. "C" Co N of Enchenberg. Cpl Roos LWA. Pfc Schmid DOW on 13 Dec from inj this day.

12 Dec: Maginot Line: barbed wire vic NE Siersthal old and badly rusted, no obstacle. Cold, rain. Tanks badly in need of maintenance. "A" Co to Fromuhl, detained by mines and craters. Atk with 71st Div 3rd Bn. Fired at two pillboxes Ey fire at RJ 2500 yds E of Holbach. "B" Co NE Petit Rederching with 324th. No ey contact. Maintenance Co. truck hit by artillery in Rederching,. Pfc Fetter LWA. Two replacement medium tanks 76mm. Eight tanks from "C" atchd "B".

13 Dec: Maginot Line: Cold, overcast, visibility poor. Combat efficiency: poor. Tanks in need of repair and replacement. C/atk by enemy succeeded at Freudenberg Farm. Petit Rederching heavily shelled at 2400. "C" Enchenberg, "D" Metschbruch. Cold, overcast. "A" Co jumped off with 71st Div on atk Holbach but Inf unable to adv - heavy artillery, mortar, S/A fire from pillboxes. Under fire from Simserhof Fort, 2nd Platoon "A" Co and assault guns took cover in a building and supported 2nd Bn by firing on pillboxes. Repeated attempts to advance repulsed. After rcn, ... tanks knocked out 4 pillboxes. At 1700 1st Bn crossed Schwalb Rv by fording through 5 feet of water. Ground occupied E and W of Hottviller and Kapellenhoff Farm. "B" Co with tanks from "C" and "D" Co.’s NE Petit Rederching on road to Kapellenhoff Farm. Bridge out. 324th adv under heavy artillery and mortar. Pvt Sapounas LWA, jeep hitting a mine next to the truck Sapounas was driving. . EM, Cpl Osborne, LWA evac from Dec 11.

14 Dec: Bitche/Maginot Line: Artillery fire extremely intense. "A" Co ... by supporting fire while 71st 3rd Bn Inf assault pillboxes with dynamite satchels at Freudenberg Farm. . Fired 80 rds AP at one pillbox. From RJ Frohmuhl 28 pillboxes could be pinpointed, and farmhouse has walls 6 x 6 thick. Our 8 inch howitzers did not damage pillboxes. 4 EM LWA, not evac,Cpl Osso, Cpl Rogan, Pfc Weskerna, Sgt Parks. "B" Co with 324th at Kapellenhoff , 2 tanks hit by ey artillery. Pfc Pearson SWA, Dec. Pfc Schmid DOW from Dec 11. Lt Leighton assigned to "C" Co.

15 Dec: Bitche/Simserhof Fort: Reports on enemy indicate 5-75mm and 2-135mm guns at Simserhof, 2-75mm and 1-135mm plus some 88mm's at Schiesseck. The enemy is still displaying tenacious defense N and NE and at Simserhof. Reports 4 enemy tanks Hottviller, Simserhof 4 tanks at 1155A, 2 tanks at 1230A, 4 tanks 1345A, 4 tanks 1445A, 2 tanks 1535A. "A" Company ... firing piercing shells at ... pillboxes with no results. Combat efficiency poor, morale fair. Cold, cloudy. "B" Co at Kapellinhoff. Pfc Szarowics LWA not evac.

16 December 1944 - 9 May 1945, Battle of the Bulge - End of the War

After finally taking Rohrbach and Petit Rederching, the 749th began their assault on Bitche and Simserhoff Fort on the Maginot Line. Just as Simserhoff Fort was falling to the Americans, the Germans started their long-awaited counterattack. When the Battle of the Bulge began, there were some feelings of surprise in the upper command levels of the military. Such was not the case for many units in the field. Large concentrations of troops and armor had been reported quite often in the preceding 3-4 weeks. Reports of long columns of trucks and armor came from both military units and civilians fleeing from German-controlled areas.

The main surge of the Germans occurred north of the position of the 749th, although some German units did attempt a drive toward Strasbourg in an attempt to outflank the Seventh Army and strike through the Saverne Gap.

When the 7th Armored Division was decimated by taking on the German armor face to face at St. Vith, the response of the Allied military to the German offensive changed and was, in fact, quite brilliant. Instead of trying to meet the German offensive head on, the plan was to allow the Germans to create an ever longer horseshoe shaped bulge in the Allied positions while making sure the Allied units on the flanks of the horseshoe were well supplied. Each mile gained in depth by the Germans meant longer supply lines and increased harassment from the lengthening flanks of the horseshoe, which meant that the Germans were forced to use more and more of their resources to guard against attacks on the supply columns. The Germans made a mad dash for an Allied fuel storage facility at Stavelot, where 3 million gallons of gasoline were stored. The 3rd Armored Division and the 30th Infantry Division beat them to the dump and successfully removed all the gasoline within 24 hours.

By December 20th the Germans had increased the depth of the horseshoe to 50 miles and the width to 30 miles. By January 28th they ran out of gas and Allied troops quickly began a counterattack, closing off the ends of the horseshoe and trapping many German units. Estimated American casualties were 81,000 and German 100,000. The 3rd Armored Division alone lost 125 M4 tanks, 38 M5 tanks, 6 M7 self-propelled guns, and 158 half-tracks and armored cars (Source: "Death Traps", by Belton Cooper, Presidio Press, 1998).

On December 20th the 749th (attached to the 44th Infantry Division) was just about finished cleaning up the Simserhof Fort near Bitche, part of the Maginot Line. They then moved 20 miles west to the vicinity of Sarreguemines and began a bloody month of defense against well armed German units. In the middle of January the unit went into a month of reserve for maintenance, training, and regrouping. On 15 February, they attacked east toward Rohrbach, then after one day's fighting, turned and went 40 miles west to join the 70th Infantry Division near Fohbach. NewFor three weeks the vicious battle for Forbach raged on. On some days over 1000 rounds of artillery and mortar fire was placed on the 70th Division and the 749th while house-to-house fighting continued in Stiring-Wendel and Forbac

The 749th, along with the 71st Regiment of the 44th Infantry Division, were awarded a Presidential Citation for a battle near Rimling, France in the period 31 December - 2 January. The text of the Citation:

"By direction of the President, under the provision of Section IV, Circular No. 333, War Department, 1943, the following named organization is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action:

The SECOND BATTALION, 71ST INFANTRY REGIMENT, is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy in eastern France from 31 December 1944 to 2 January 1945. On 31 December 1944 the Second Battalion, 71st infantry, supported by one platoon, Company "A", 749th Tank Battalion and one platoon, Company "A", 776th Tank Destroyer Battalion, held the high ground northwest of Rimling, France, on a 2400 yard front. At 2345, 31 December 1944, the 37th Panzer Grenadier regiment of the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division, launched an attack to seize Sarrebourg, France and cut the supply line of the Seventh Army. The enemy had planned to overrun the position by sheer weight as they attacked in dense masses. The initial attack of five companies strength against the right half of the Second Battalion forced Company "F" to withdraw, although the enemy suffered huge casualties as a result of friendly artillery and mortar fire. A penetration of an adjacent unit threatened the supply route and the command post installation. After another unit became involved in the penetration, the Second Battalion, with supporting elements, counterattacked and restored the original positions. The enemy made repeated attacks on 1 January 1945 and again all positions were restored by a counterattack. The Second Battalion, 71st Regiment, at greatly reduced strength, contained eight enemy assaults and inflicted terrific casualties upon the enemy, forcing them to withdraw with their mission uncompleted."

On March 9th the battle for Forbach was over and the Allies, and the 749th, started the final run to Berlin. For the 749th, this drive began near Bitche and the Maginot Line, a place they entered and left several times in December. A place they all called "a real bitch". Now, there was little fight left in the German Army.

The 44th Division received a Commendation signed by Lt. General Devers, Commanding General 6th Army Group, praising its defense against the German 17th SS Panzer Division and two other Infantry Divisions near Sarreguemines, "... forcing the Germans to shift his forces to another area." The entire Seventh Army was given praise in an Order of The Day, Headquarters 6th Army Group, dated 10 February 1945, for " stopping the attack (of the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division) in the Ardennes Bulge ... "

Cities: Bitche, Rohrbach, Simserhoff, Siesterthal, Kapellenhoff Farm, Legeret Farm, Kleinmuhl, Hollbach, Fruedenberg, Hottviller, Schorbach, Sarreguemines, Hambach, Siltzheim, Achen, Wittring, Sarreinsming, Woefling, Gros Rederching, Wiesviller, Folpersviller, Remelfing, Frauenberg, Blies-Ebersing, Habkirchen, Bliesbruck, Reinheim, Obergailbach, Moronviller, Brandelfingerhof, Vittersbiurg, Altwiller, Rimling, Rhorbach, Petit Rederching, Bining, Hundling, Farschviller, Bousbach, Bening, Forbach, Stiring-Wendel, Spicheren, Kerbach, Etzling, Grosbliederstroff, Bubingen, Saarbrucken, Hilbesheim, Oberstinzet, Camp de Bitche, Venningen, Pirmasens, Pirmasens, Vinningen, Roppevilier, Eppenbrunn, Walschbronn,Liederscheim, Sarnstall, Altdorf. Lingenfeld, Hochstadt, Westheim, Hochneim, Maintz, Hersfeld, Sontra, Creuzberg, Kellerforst, Mulhausen, Lancensalza, Volkerode, Gebesee, Nerlsdof, Apolda, Schkolen, Kretzachau, Zeitz, Buscha, Altenburg, Frankenau, Monsdorf, Hartmannsdorf, Schonborn, Wensdorf, Hohenstein, Limbach

Distance: 300 miles by 20 March Pirmasens 104 days

Allied Units: 44th Infantry Division (7th Army) - 71st/114th/324th Regiments, 25th Cavalry Squad (4th Armored Division), 100th Infantry Division, 80th Infantry Division, 157th FA Battalion, 693rd FA Battalion, 217th FA Battalion, 781st Tank Battalion, 761st Tank Battalion, 691st TD Battalion, 156 FA Battalion, 493th AFA BN, 494th AFA BN, 495th AFA BN, 776th Tank Battalion, 895th AAA AW Battalion, 693rd FAB, 12th Armored Division, 35th Infantry Division, 70th Infantry Division (7th Army), 42nd Infantry Division (6th Army), 65th Infantry Division (3rd Army), 76th Infantry Division (1st Army), 117th Cav Sq, 66th Infantry Division.

German Units: 35 Panzer Group, 25 Panzer division, 11 Panzer Recon Battalion, 111 Panzer Group Regiment, 257 VolksGroup Division, 347 VolksGroup Division, 457 Group R, 36 Infantry Division, 37 Panzer Group Regiment, 38 Panzer Group Regiment, 17 SS Panzer Grenadier Division, 19 Infantry Division, 2nd Panxer Group Regiments, 21 Panzer Division, 559th VolksGroup Division, 256 VolksGroup Division, 282 Stomach Trouble Battalion, 84 Rocket Gun Regt, 7 Volkswerferbrigade, 17 SS artillery Regt, 17 SSBG Division, 345 Infantry Division, 19 Fus. Co., 59 VGR, BG Klein, 347 Alarm Co., 347 Artillery Regiment, Heavy Battery 113 SS, 13 SS Corps, 6 Assault Gun Battalion, GHQ 1st Army, AT Battalion Gustav, 514 Fort AT Battalion, Alarm Compmay Nichus, 719 Infantry Division, Alarm Company Rumpf, 1125 VGR, 1126 VGR, 1127 VGR, 1-V Werfer Regt., 16th Volks Gr Div., 36th Volks Gr Div.

16 Dec: Continued destruction of Simserhof Fort by combination ... direct fire from tanks, hand placed explosives, welding by engineers and digging in 2 TDs working late hours of period. "A" Co firing 60 AP at pillboxes. "B" Co Cpl Sutherland, Pvt Ruggiero, Pvt Sacre combat exhaustion not evac. "C" Co Cpl Edelson and Pvt Pierce combat exhaustion not evac. Lt Willard Nolin promoted Capt.

17 Dec: More direct tank fire on Simserhof Fort. Two tanks "A" Co fired 70 rds AP and 30 rds HE at tunnel entrance. Medium tank fired 60 rds AP at unit #5 of Simserhof Fort with little damage to pill box. Cpl Moore LWA and evac. "D" Co 1st platoon received mission of entering underground tunnel at Legeret. Idea abandoned.

18 Dec: 100th Infantry Div reported 2 American tanks operated by enemy .... When #9 Ensemble De Simserhof was entered, diesel motor was running and lights were blazing. Phone rang later. At commencement of this period, lights and motor were turned off. Simserhof Fort Units #1, 2, 4 believed destroyed by artillery fire. Unit #5 by direct fire from TD's and tanks.. Units #3, 7, 8 many direct hits but no visible penetration. Destruction of Unit #9 by 63 Engineers... 700 lb explosive down elevator air vent. 100th Division has silenced Fort Schiesseck ... except Unit #2. "A" Co 2nd plat with 3rd Bn of 71st at Holbach. Light tank fired 27 rds in support of Inf and Eng without visual damage. Another tank fired 60 rounds AP, 76mm ammo. Tanks at Freudenberg Farm prevented from adv because of tank obstacle 15 yds wide, 6 ft high, extending as far as visual sight. 1 tank hit by artillery. 3rd Bn 71st Div seized Freudenberg OP. "B" Co at Enchenberg ... maintenance. Two EM Cpl Kotowicz and Pvt Sermet, combat exhaustion, no evac.

19 Dec: "A" Co ... 3 tanks moved out 0730A...2 of 3 bogged down. 3rd tank fired 20 rds HE. Relieved 0830A. 3 tank crews returned on 3rd tank.

20 Dec: PW states our artillery fire on roads feared ... many horses are lost and supplies cannot be brought up. 749th combat efficiency poor. "D" Co 2nd platoon joined "B" Co Enchenberg ... drove 18 miles to Siltzheim and Folpersviller. Time bombs reported Sarreguemines. One 2100 lb explosive was discovered in basement set to explode 2 1/2 days later. Reports that enemy officers dressed in US uniforms with US tags and ID cards.

21 Dec: 100th Infantry Division relieves 44th. 44th to relieve 35th Infantry Division vicinity Sarreguemines. "B" Co atchd 324th Inf ; 1st plat at Reinhein, 2nd plat Habkirchen, 3rd plat and 2nd plat "D" Co at Folperville. 1st plat first to cross German border. "C" Co relieved by 781st Tank Battalion. "D" Co 2nd platoon at Blies Ebersing.

22 Dec: Volksturn in Siltzheim took oath not to Adolf hitler but to Heinrich Himmler. Civilians in same town state soldiers there believed Hitler dead. "A" Co Sarreguemines, "B" Kirchen, "C" Sarreguemines, "D" Remelfing. Sv Co moved from Maierhof to Witterwald.

23 Dec: Escaped US PW's state German soldiers in civilian clothing have small bottles of sulphuric acid carried in matches or cigarette case, to throw into face of captor. "A" Co ... to guard bridges. "B" to support 324th in withdrawal. "C" in support of defense.

25 Dec: Defensive positions improved ... Tanks fired at opportunities ... vicinity Sarrequemines. Ey artillery fire ... sometimes heavy. "B" Co EM LWA shrapnel T/5 Renz not evac. "C" Co EM LWA Pvt Covington. "D" Co S/Sgt Tombre LWA not evac, Sv Co Pvt Douglas LWA not evac.

1 Jan: 749th with 44th Infantry Division. Enemy attacked in force ... 2 infantry divisions and Panzer division supported by 20-40 tanks. Average age of (enemy) 165th Regt 38-40 years. "A" Co to Obergailbach/ Moronville to support ... 1 EM not evac and tank plat ldr Lt Herbaly evac battle exhaustion. Lt Hansen found ... battle exhaustion and evac. Pvt Curcio SWA, T/5 Sullivan LWA not evac. Sgt Heric and Cpl Osso LIA not evac. "C" Co 2nd plat to Neunkirch, fired 90 rds direct killing 22 ey. 1st plat 180 rds indirect fire. SWA evac T/5 Cpl Robinson, EM LWA evac Sgt Abney.

2 Jan: 44th Division General Situation: Ey front lines: "U" bond in Blies and Saar River vicinity Sarrequemines extending E to N Fraumberg - 55 yds W Bliesbrucken 1000 yds S Bliesbrucken 2000 yds NE Woelfling - 500 yds N Bellevu Farm - 500 yds S Moronville Farm. Ey units in contact: 14 Co, 165th Inf Regt, 268th artillery Regt, 36th Inf Div. From Div Boundary W of Saargemuend to 1 km W Bliesbrucken. Ey reported digging in Bliesbruckener Wald woods at 1435A. Ey obs constructing wire at 1215A. Heavy guns (at least 215mm) 1580 yds NE Ommercheim. 3 heavy ey guns NE Saarbrucken. 2 105mm btrys and one 150mm btry vic Bebelsheim. Obs during period 3 105mm btry, 1 at 100 yds N Saarquemines, 1 2000 yds N Saarquemines, and 1 1000 yds NE Reinheim. SP gun 1000 yds E Auersmacher. PW states a 119th Inf Assault Div prev rptd by PEy assembled SE Frauemberg, penetrated to 1000 yds SW Bliesbrucken. Wounded PW estimated 25 out of 60 in Co casualties from our artillery. 3 ey walking ... with hands over heads. When they reached our guards ... threw a concussion grenade. "A" Co assisted in withdrawal 2nd Bn. LWA not evac Sgt Pelcher, Pfc Chaffee, Lt Schmidt.

3 Jan: Ey main attack Achen. Heavy ey artillery Bliesbruken. 3rd Bn, 71st Inf Div received combined tank and infantry attack ... forced to withdraw about 2 km.

4 Jan: Ey occupies Achen and Gros Recherding. PW says ey wounded in Habkirchen not cared for and some froze to death overnite unattended out in the open. Soldiers fear any kind of wound ... ."A" Co to assist 71st in attack Wittring and Achen. "B" Co fired direct at 500 yds in support of 1st Bn at Le Grand Bois. "C" Co indirect fire. "D" Co continued to guard rear bridges.

5 Jan: 2 US flyers parachuted from B17, were asisted by 2 ey who led them to US lines and surrendered. 749th morale, poor. "A" Co jumped off attack on Gros Rederching. 253rd Inf mounted on tanks. "B" tank recd direct hit by mortar and direct hit by large cal artillery. Tank moved 300 yds and stopped. Crew mounted remaining tank and returned ... Sgt Bush LWA

6 Jan: Enemy counterattack by 38 Pg Regt, forced our troops to withdraw. "A" Co at Gros Rederching, 3 casualties when tank knocked out, all evac. "C" Co 1 tank knocked out and crew of 5 rptd MIA: Cpl J.E. Jones LWA not evac. Pfc Kutsch MIA vic Gros Rederching. 5 EM MIA Sgt Bishop, Cpl Nahoney, T/5 Webber, Pfc Koia, Pfc R. Smith. "A" Co Pfc Carter battle fatigue, evac. "B" Co 2nd platoon vic Viesing Farm. 2 tanks recd direct hits, 1 shell landing in turret, killing 3 of crew, including plat ldr. KIA 2nd Lt Sauerbrey, Cpl Unzicker, Pvt Orzechowski. Sgt Bush LWA not evac.

8 Jan: Weather: Freezing, icy and heavy snow. "B" Co (attched 397th in 100th Div) enroute 15 miles SE to Bining. Commendation from Lt Col Fann to 749th:

"... Heroic and devoted efforts as you have illustrated ... places you on a pedestal of manhood which history will forever be proud. God bless you all and watch over you."

9 Jan: Ey artillery was exceptionally heavy with cal ranging from 105mm to 150. 2nd and 3rd Bns 114th forced to withdraw Bliesbrucken. Ey of unknown strength overrun F Co CP, 397th Regt (100th Div) Rimling; 30 men cutoff. "B" Co 749th and Co of Inf attempting to rescue 30 men. Ist Bn 398th Inf (atchd 397th) advance to 1000 yds N Rohrbach ... heavy casualties from artillery fire and direct tank fire vic Rimling. Prepared for withdrawal. "A" Co, morale low. Fired 110 rds 105mm HE under FA control. "B" Co ... tanks recd heavy direct fire Rimling. Tanks to assembly Rohrbach. 3rd plat alerted for move to Guising. "C" Co not committed. "D" Co continued to guard bridges in Div rear.

10 Jan: 397th attempt to rescue 30 men in vain. "B" Co no action. T/5 Smith LWA from shrapnel, evac. "C" Co no action. "A" Co no action.

12 Jan: 749th Tank Battalion reld from 44th Inf Div. Intensive tank training program started under Supervision of Lt Olsen consisting of 24 EM ...

13 Jan: Tank training school temporarily discontinued. "A" Co Vibersviller, "B" Co left Rohrbach in 2 trains to Altwiller. 1st composed of 2nd plat, gas trucks, kitchen truck. 2nd train composed 1st plat and ordn plat plus maint vehs. "C" Co Givrycourt. "D" Co Schwaix.

14-17 Jan: In Corps reserve on 6 hour alert. Camouflaging tanks with white wash paint.

18 Jan: In Corps reserve on 6 hour alert. S/Sgt Frederick Eck "B" and S/Sgt James Malloy "A" recd battlefield appointments as 2nd Lt. Continuation of tank training program. Firing range vic Bust.

19-24 Jan: In Corps reserve on 6 hour alert. Continuation of tank training program. Firing range vic Bust. "B" Co cmdr Lt Leighton. One tank "B" Co to Weisviller ... with mission of destroying bunkers vic Bliesbrucken Woods.

25 Jan: In Corps reserve on 6 hour alert. Continuation of tank training program. "B" CO tank under command of Sgt Bush ... fire 13 rds HE and 6 rds AP 75mm Mission successful. Tank withdrew before heavy 120mm mortar barrage. Training ... care and feeding of 75mm gun, radio repair, winter hygiene.

26-30 Jan: In Corps reserve on 6 hour alert. Continuation of tank training program. 2 tanks "A" Co left for Wiesviller to contact 114th Regt.

31 Jan: In Corps reserve on 6 hour alert. Continuation of tank training program. While practice driving, tank mired in marsh or stream. Tank covered by water above turret, recovery efforts in vain. Bn now 5 tanks short, 43 medium tanks operational and 6 in repair. 17 light tanks operationa and 1 in ordnance.

1 Feb: In Corps reserve on 6 hour alert. Two tanks "A" alerted to move to Bliesbrucken Woods to destroy 6 bunkers. Bunkers destroyed, 7 PW's, 4 ey dead. Inf did not occupy bunkers complaining of heavy artillery but refused to let tanks withdraw. When tanks withdrew, shelling stopped.Conclusion is that tanks must withdraw immediately and Inf must move up and occupy at the instant that tank fire ceased.

2-13 Feb: In Corps reserve on 6 hour alert. Continuation of tank training program. Tank tracks modified to improve movement on ice, snow.

14 Feb: 749th attached 44th Infantry Division. "A" Co to Gros Rederchiing. "B" Co 1st and 3rd plat to Petit Rederching. 2nd Plat to Guising. "C" Co to Sarre-Union. "D" Co to Etting.

15 Feb: Enemy front lines Bliesbrucken, Bellevue Farm, Obergailbach, Epping, Rimling. "A" atchd 71st Infantry Division/114th Regt, attckd Rimling, 2 ths lost to mine fields, no casualties. "B" Co 1st/2nd plat 44thDiv/324th Regt at Bruckenbush Woods. One tank on mine, another tank clutch problem. PWs 120. 3rd plat 44th Div/71st Regt at Rimling. PWs 185.

749th released from 44th Division to 70th Division.

"A" Co left Etting moved to 101st Calvary Group area St Avold via Achen, Hergitzheim, Puttelange.

"B" Co left Rohrbach moved 40 miles west via Bining, Singling, Saralbe, Puttelange to Farschviller.

"C" Co left Weisviller to Hundling via Achen, Herbitzheim, Saralbe, Hambach, Roth, Wousviller

16 Feb: "A" Co attchd 101 Cal Gp, "B" atchd 274th, "C" atch 275th, 276th. Tank troops weary from long hrs of mental and physical strain, drivers constantly going to sleep at controls. One tank ran over culvert landing on turret killing two men, injuring 3rd. T/5 Glen Ayres and William David, KIA vic St Avold.

17 Feb: At Etzling-Kerbach road 500 rds 88mm in 1 1/2 hrs. "B" Co 2nd plat atk Kerbach ... all day fight. 78 Pws. 3rd plat at Behren ... road block. 1 tank disabled by mine. Sgt McClung evac battle exhaustion. "C" Co to Lixing ... many PWs. 1 tank lost in minefield, 1 tank cannon broke down. "D" Co committed at Morsbach.

749th Tank Battalion M-4A3E8 tank on bridge that collapsed with weight of vehicle during operation against Grosblietterstroff on the Saar.
749th Tank Battalion M-4A3E8 tank on bridge that collapsed with weight of vehicle during operation against Grosblietterstroff on the Saar River, 18 February 1945.

21 Feb: Ey c/atk in Forsbach, holds 2/3 of town and all of Stiring-Wendel. "B" Co assists in house to house fighting. 249 PWs.

22 Feb: "B" Co 1st plat Stiring-Wendel. 2nd plat with 274th at Kerbach. 1st tank hit mine and others could not pass. 3 EM LWA 3rd plat tank overturned moving to Etzling: Pvt Walker, Pvt Dantsberger, T/4 Stafford. "C" Co ist plat Forsbach. 2nd and 3rd plat Alsting. 1 tank stuck in bog. EM LIA t/4 Keown. EM SIA Pfc Moore. EM LWA Sgt Womack. EM SWA Melendy.

23 Feb: "B" Co 2nd plat atckd thru Gifterwald Forest. 1st plat move to relieve 2nd plat ran into ey c/atk supported by two Mark V tanks. Sgt Byke fired 25 rounds 75mm AP at a range of less than 200 yds into one of these tanks and failed to knock it out. S/Sgt Bush fired 1 rd 76mm AP into same tank and knocked it out. "C" Co 1 atkd Bois de St Arnual Woods. 1 tank withdrew with gun jam. 1 tank hit by AT fire. Another tank withdrew with gun trouble. 2nd plat in woods during night. At 2300 Mark IV tank came down a trail and overran AT gun. Inf cmdr asked Sgt Pringle to fire a bazooka at the tank, claiming all his bazooka teams were wounded or sick. Sgt Pringle said he had his own tank to take care of. Infantryman volunteered and knocked out tank with three shots. A larger German tank Mark V came dwon the trail shooting and towed away knocked out tank. Unknown to tank crews Infantry pulled back during night leaving tanks unprotected. At first light 3 ey bazookas atkd Sgt Pearson's tank which was mired down. Another tank tried to pull him out and it got stuck. Third tank attempts rescue but developed engine trouble. All three tanks abandoned by crews. One casualty LWA Sgt Pearson from shell fragment. In afternoon Sgt Monson's tank knocked out by MARK VI even after Sgt Monson hit the ey tank with 3 rds 76mm AP. Crew abandoned tank, 2 SWA T/5 Ek and Pfc Burnett. Two other tanks had to withdraw due to gun trouble. Only one tank operational.

24 Feb: Unidentified object resembling dirigible passed over zone. 4 tanks support ey c/atk, 3ords 88mm in Forbach. "B" Co Stiring-Wendel, 2 EM LWA Sgt Pfortner and Pvt Smith. "C" Co 1st plat Forbach, EM LWA Cpl Baker. "D" Co Cocheren, LWA Pfc Singer, SV Co.

25 Feb: "A" Co occasional artillery fire Grosbliederstroff, EM LWA S/Sgt Mosca, Sgt R.B. Jacson, not evac.

26 Feb: "C" Co Forbach defensive pos, EM LWA S/Sgt Monson, T/4 Zuend.

28 Feb: Battalion now has 29 M443 E8 tanks with 76mm gun with muzzle break and wide tracks, 4 76mm's with narrow track.

3 Mar: "A" Co atchd 63rd Inf Div atkd Bubingen. Smoke laid down as planned but it blew back on Co. Smoke cleared ey pos first. 6 tanks hit by AT fire, 3 have burned. 2 complete crews MIA; 6 EM, MIA, Sgt Price, Cpl Mace, T/5 Faust, Pfc Caldwell, Pfc E.E. Cox, Pfc Leitwein. 4 crew members KIA; 1 KIA Sgt R.B. Jackson; 6 EM LWA. S/Sgt McLemore, Cpl Lang evac, Pfc Wilkening n/evac, Pfc Lopez n/evac, Pfc Cherno n/evac, Pfc Bader n/evac. 4 EM SWA evac Cpl Addis, S/Sgt Mosca, Cpl Osso, T/5 Dujalski. "B" Co 2nd plat at Stiring-Wendel, heavy artillery, LWA n/evac Lt Eck. "C" Co At Forbach, destroyed 10 MG nests, 4 bazookas. 1 tank knocked out by artillery and one by mines. EM evac Fairchild.

4 Mar: "B" Co Stiring-Wendel, very hvy artillery. Took 11 pillboxes, 6 MGs, 41 PWs. EM Sgt Whistler LWA evac. "C" Co Forbach, 5 EM LWA n/evac Pfc Davis, T/4 Galbreath, Pfc Carlo, Cpl T J Cook, Sgt Harting.

5 Mar: Stiring-Wendel - ey artillery 1000 rds. 75 rds Forbach. House to house fighting. 900 PWs (Russian, French, Polish, Greek, Serb, Croat, Italian) held by ey in Stiring-Wendel.

6 Mar: Mortar fire Forbach 1400 rds. House to house fighting Stiring-Wendel.

7 Mar: Ey artillery 1053 rds. "B" Co Stiring-Wendel. Plt ldr dismounted tank, killed by shrapnel (S/Sgt Bush).

M4A3E8 76mm Sherman tank of B Company, 749th Tank Battalion outside Bitche France, 17 March 1945.
M4A3E8 76mm Sherman tank of B Company, 749th Tank Battalion outside Bitche France, 17 March 1945.

8 - 19 Mar: 749th released from 70th Division, moved 40 miles SE to Hilbeshieim/Hellering (vic Saverne). In Div Res until movement 19 Mar to vic Bitche. "A" Co Liederschiedt, "B" Camp de Bitche, "C" Enchenberg, "D" St Louis. Previous rpts 3 Mar of MIA now reported KIA: T/5 Faust, E E Cox, Sgt Price, Cpl Race, Sgt Bishop, Cpl Nahoney, T/5 Webber, Pfc Smith, Pfc Loia. McFadden LWA vic Forbach.

20 Mar - 9 May: 71st Div 5th Inf with "A" Co patrolled E and NE of Roppevilier and Walshbronn. Relieved by 14th Inf. attchd "B" Co., holding Bitche and Camp de Bitche. Ey continued artillery and mortar fire from Seigfried Line. 749th crosses Seigfried Line and Rhine River and moves NE toward Berlin with light and scattered resistance. Attached to 65th and 76th Infantry Divisions.

24 March: 5th Infantry Regiment (of the 71st Infantry Division), attached to Co. "A", 749th Tank Battalion, to move at once to Weingarten and to atk without delay along the axis Weingarten-Westheim-Germersheim. Atk launched at 240500 in conjunction with CCR of 12th Armor Division from direction of Speyer. At 241030 rpts received that both bridges at Germersheim were blown. Atk was halted until further orders. ...... receipt of info that 12th armd div had secured the town. "D" Co 2nd and 3rd pltns left Altdorf 0645A arriving Schwegenheim, joining 5th Regt, 71st Inf Div. Tanks and inf pushed forward to Lingenfeld. Two platoons remained in Lingenfeld, 3rd pltn adv Westheim at 0930A. "A" Co and 1 pltn "D" Co jumped off from Westheim to atk SE approix 1130A .....Inf pinned down by air bursts, and as tanks came to within 50 yds of the woods, 3 88mm AT guns opened fire, completely destroyin 1 M24 light tank of "D" Co at 1200A. 2 men LWA, Sgt Gough, dislocated shoulder and Lt Hayden, bloody nose from concussion. 1 EM, Wilkens, MIA.Pfc Petrillo distinguished himself bt going to aid of wounded infantry ynder heavy SA fire, sniper, and AW fire. Recommended for Silver Star.

25 March: Enemy front lines - none. No enemy activity. Civilians out of food for several days. 749th locations: "A" at Geinsheim, "B" at Dutweiler, "C" at KirrWeiler, "D" Geinsheim. Battalion remained in Corp reserve.Open instruction #50, Headquarters XII Corps, attached 749th to 42nd Infantry Division.

26 March: One enemy solder killed at 0515A while attempting to infiltrate Division CP. Germany troops had been instructed to bury their weapons if capture was imminent. A few enemy were found hiding in the woods. Battalion remained in Corps reserve.

27 March: No enemy activity reported. German officer reported that American plan to break the West Wall (made before the invasion) had fallen into German hands in August 1944. German officers also said that German invasion plans included signs marked A-Z posted around West Wall pill boxes and roads so that supporting artillery could effectively fire at invasion troops. Previous practice gave the artillery accurate firing parameters.