Withdrawal Across the Kall
General Davis on the morning of 8 November ordered the 3d Battalion, 109th Infantry, which had been unable to find its way to the Kall gorge the day before, to try again. It was to secure the area in preparation for the subsequent withdrawal of the American troops from the Kommerscheidt woods line. Accompanied by General Davis and Colonel Nelson--the latter was still attempting to reach the remaining elements of his new command, the 112th Infantry--the battalion moved out of its position in rear of the 110th Infantry. It advanced along the Simonskall road in the 110th sector to the gooseneck curve, thence cross country through the woods to the north-south river road. At this road Company L dropped out of the column to serve as flank protection while the battalion moved on to the bridge area, arriving between 1300 and 1330. The men dug in near the Kall trail.
Company L forded the river almost due west of Kommerscheidt and moved along the east bank toward the bridge on its mission of providing flank security. It met stiff resistance and suffered heavy casualties in a fight that lasted about three hours. Unable to advance, the company eventually withdrew to the west bank and dug in east and slightly north of Task Force Lacy's position, which was at the gooseneck curve in the Simonskall road.
After the main body of the 109th battalion had reached the bridge area and while Company L was still engaged on the east bank, General Davis asked for a volunteer patrol from Company K, 109th. Its mission was to lead Colonel Nelson across the river to the Kommerscheidt woods line and thus to reconnoiter a route of withdrawal for the forces remaining across the river. Those who volunteered were 2d Lt. Edward W. Tropp, T. Sgt. Robert McMillin, Sgt. Alexander Bretal, and Pfc. Lester Sunburg.
General Davis' orders to Colonel Nelson were to reach the American force beyond the Kall and lead it in a withdrawal to the west bank. There Nelson's men were to assemble temporarily with the 3d Battalion, 109th, and then complete the withdrawal to an assembly area near Richelskaul. Using a diamond formation, the patrol and Colonel Nelson moved out about 1445. They had gone approximately 700 yards to the north (downstream) when they encountered a six-man German patrol. Lieutenant Tropp opened fire with his carbine, and the Germans answered with a machine pistol. Firing his M-1 rifle from the hip, Sergeant Bretal hit one of the Germans, and the others retreated quickly, dragging their wounded comrade with them.
Turning east, Lieutenant Tropp's patrol forded the river and proceeded up a steep, clifflike slope beyond, through another stretch of dense woods, and
eventually, without further encounter with the enemy, into the American woods-line positions. Colonel Nelson made contact with Colonel Ripple, who had been commanding the composite forces beyond the Kall since Colonel Peterson's departure, and then sent Lieutenant Tropp's patrol back across the river.1
The Day at the Kommerscheidt Woods Line
The remnants of the 1st and 3d Battalions, 112th Infantry; the 3d Battalion, 110th Infantry; Company A, 707th Tank Battalion; Company C, 893d Tank Destroyer Battalion; and the 1st Platoon, Company C, 20th Engineers, had spent a comparatively quiet morning and afternoon in their hastily organized defenses along the northern Kommerscheidt woods-line. Although occasional enemy artillery and mortar fire had harassed them and there had been more casualties, the shelling was nothing like what they had experienced before Kommerscheidt itself was abandoned. In the early morning, six enemy tanks had maneuvered from northeast to southwest across the front at a distance of 300 to 500 yards, but the Americans had called for artillery fire and the armored threat had not materialized. Again that afternoon six enemy tanks had appeared in the open north of Schmidt; these were all reportedly destroyed by tank destroyer fire from Vossenack.2
Shortly before Colonel Nelson arrived at the woods-line defenses, Colonel Ripple had received a coded radio message from division ordering him to withdraw his remaining troops to the west bank of the Kall. He was still awaiting reply to a request for information about the situation to his rear along the main supply route when Colonel Nelson arrived with Lieutenant Tropp's patrol. The two officers issued joint withdrawal orders, asking for volunteers to carry out the wounded and designating Company L, 110th Infantry, as a covering force. Colonel Nelson stipulated that the column of wounded was to proceed directly down the Kall trail just at dark. Another column of effectives was to go cross country some thirty minutes later over the route he had followed into the area. The colonel's theory was that the Germans, who evidently had patrols all along the east bank, would let through a column made up entirely of wounded and litter bearers but would fire upon a column that included effectives. Every man was ordered to strip down to absolute essentials. All abandoned equipment, including the remaining tank and two tank destroyers, was to be damaged as much as possible without the use of explosives. Supporting artillery, which had been so effective that Colonel Ripple felt he "could not have remained in the woods line pocket for twenty minutes without it," was to fire a heavy concentration against Kommerscheidt at 1800 to conceal noise of the withdrawal.
About two hours remained for preparation. The men worked hurriedly to prepare litters for the wounded by putting saplings through overcoats and blankets donated by the effectives. They booby-trapped the tank, tank destroyers, and
SUPPORTING FIRE rendered effective aid to 112th Infantry. Gun crew of 987th Field Artillery Battalion firing a 155-mm. self-propelled gun (above), and men of the 86th Chemical Battalion firing a 4.2-inch mortar (below).
57-mm. antitank guns, destroying those parts which could be destroyed quietly. The tank was put on the Kall trail to serve as a road block. Use of a demolition kit was ruled out for fear of the noise it would create; it was buried. On four remaining jeeps blocks were smashed and tires slashed. To cover the withdrawal Company L, 110th, had to move to the positions of Company C, 112th. The move was accomplished by exchanging small groups in order to avoid bunching up the men and possibly panicking the other troops should they see all of Company C, 112th, withdrawing at once.
There were approximately 300 to 350 effectives in the group, about twenty walking wounded, and thirty litter cases. Colonel Nelson and Captain Rumbaugh, 110th, planned to lead the column of effectives, with Colonel Ripple bringing up the rear and checking for stragglers.
Just before the withdrawal was to begin, Captain Walker, commanding the provisional 112th company, saw the column of wounded preparing to leave and thought the withdrawal had already begun. He ordered his men out on the trail, clogging it while the wounded were trying to get through. When Company I, 110th, which was to lead the column of effectives, saw this activity it too moved out on the trail, and only after some fifteen minutes was the confusion straightened out. In the near-darkness, the procession of wounded continued down the trail toward the river, and Company I, 110th, led by Colonel Nelson, started cross country at the head of the column of effectives.3
Along the Kall Trail
While the woods-line defenders held north of Kommerscheidt and prepared for withdrawal, the engineers dug in along the main supply route also suffered from enemy artillery fire but experienced no ground action. About noon a heavy artillery concentration hit the positions of the 3d Platoon, Company B, 1340th Engineers, near the western edge of the woods, killing twelve men, including the 1340th medical officer and the executive officer of Company A, 20th Engineers, and wounding thirteen others. That afternoon the Company B, 1340th, commander, Captain Creegan, went to a rear aid station with trench foot, leaving 1st Lt. Carl B. Setterberg in command.
When the 3d Battalion, 109th Infantry, moved into the area in the afternoon, General Davis told Colonel Setliffe, 1340th commander, to have the trail cleared from Vossenack to the bridge in order that the wounded could be evacuated. After a lieutenant from Company A, 1340th, checked all abandoned vehicles on the trail to determine if they were booby-trapped, had three medical vehicles removed, and cut out one road block of felled trees, Colonel Setliffe reported about 1700 that the trail was open.
Lieutenant Tyo, Company K, 112th Infantry, and a group of seven men had spent the night before with the engineers along the trail after having retreated from the Kommerscheidt fight. In the morning the men were suffering so intensely from exposure and their feet hurt so much from the cold and dampness that Tyo decided to continue to the rear. Accompanied by a wounded engineer, the lieutenant led the men along the gorge toward the south in a circuitous
route that eventually led into the 110th Infantry sector. On the way they passed through a former enemy position that was littered with equipment and two dead Germans. Lieutenant Tyo in the lead passed safely, but the man behind him stepped on a buried grenade or anti-personnel mine that was booby-trapped to another. Both exploded at once. The man behind the lieutenant lost a foot, Tyo was thrown to the ground, the wounded engineer's leg was broken in two places, and another man was blinded. Too fatigued to carry the wounded, the others left the two with leg and foot wounds and led the blinded man with them. As soon as they reached a battalion CP of the 110th Infantry, they sent back four aid men with two litters and a man with a mine detector for the two wounded. All others of the group except Lieutenant Tyo and a sergeant were evacuated with trench foot.
Near the Kall bridge, two platoons of Company K, 109th Infantry, were ordered just before dark to go to the bridge and secure it for the withdrawal. They were to knock out a German machine gun that covered the bridge (possibly the machine gun at the mill). By the time the platoons were organized for the move, it was well after dark, and when the first of the platoons reached the bridge, the men found the withdrawal already in progress.4
In Vossenack the usual heavy enemy shelling continued on 8 November. The infantry of the 2d Battalion, 109th, escaped heavy casualties because they were holed up in cellars and buildings away from the forward slope that had proved so disastrous for the 2d Battalion, 112th Infantry. There was no enemy ground action. Just before dark Company B, 109th, moved into the western half of Vossenack while the remainder of the 1st Battalion, originally designated as a part of Task Force Davis, set up a defense in Germeter.
By arrangement with the 2d Battalion, 109th, all tanks had withdrawn from Vossenack the night of 7 November, and the tank destroyer platoon of Lieutenant Davis withdrew just before dawn. Three guns of the 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion (towed) and nine of the 109th Infantry's Antitank Company were installed in the town. Despite this arrangement, the tanks and tank destroyers were called back into Vossenack numerous times during the day because of reports from both infantry and tankers of enemy tank movement on the ridges beyond the town. While most of these reports were evidently erroneous and prompted by unsteady nerves and unfamiliarity with the positions of destroyed and disabled American tanks, they nevertheless served to keep a steady procession of American armor moving in and out of Vossenack throughout the day. Once during the morning Lieutenant Anderson's platoon of Company B, 707th Tank Battalion, radioed for Lieutenant Davis' tank destroyers to come back into town to fire on enemy tanks near Schmidt. The destroyers responded, only to claim that the reported tanks were clumps of bushes. Later Anderson's tankers fired on the suspected enemy tanks and claimed several hits. Anderson then called for an air strike against the suspected tanks,
planning to use artillery smoke markings to assist the planes in spotting the target. When the planes appeared about 1030, several rounds of smoke fell near Vossenack and in rear of Germeter. The planes hit their target, but one aircraft dropped a bomb near a tank in Vossenack and several bombs fell in rear of Germeter. The planes were probably P-38's of the 474th Group, vectored from a mission of bombing gun positions north of Bergstein.
In the afternoon Lieutenant Davis' tank destroyers again moved into Vossenack in answer to a request for fire on enemy tanks near Bergstein. The suspected tanks turned out to be a house and a pillbox. Remaining in town, about 1600 Lieutenant Davis spotted one Mark IV and four Mark V's moving in the open near Kommerscheidt. His No. 1 gun fired one round at the Mark IV, striking a little to the left. A second round hit the target, and the German crew jumped out. All four destroyers then began firing high-explosive ammunition. Lieutenant Davis' No. 3 gun hit one of the Mark V's with its second round, spinning the enemy tank halfway around and setting it on fire. The Americans turned their fire on the three remaining Mark V's. The occupants of one jumped out and were immediately killed or wounded. A second German tank caught fire. Since the tank destroyers had a few rounds of high velocity armor piercing (HVAP) ammunition, they depressed their muzzles to allow for the greater muzzle velocity of the HVAP projectiles and scored several direct hits on the one remaining Mark V. It did not move again.
That night the destroyer crewmen had difficulty in starting their motors. They had no antifreeze, and the long periods of standing with motors off in the cold had worn down their batteries. Only after a long and hard session of towing by the company's 3d Platoon did Lieutenant Davis succeed in starting his vehicles.
During the day Company D, 707th Tank Battalion, the light tank company, was withdrawn from support of the 28th Reconnaissance Troop to the southwest, and one platoon was sent to Germeter. During the night eight more towed guns of Company B, 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion, entered Vossenack. Two of these guns were knocked out by enemy artillery fire before they could be placed in position.
Although one platoon of tanks or one platoon of tank destroyers was in Vossenack at all times during the next few days, this was virtually the last active participation of armor in the Vossenack fight while 28th Division troops remained in the area.5
After the initial confusion at the start of the withdrawal from the northern Kommerscheidt woods line, the column of wounded and volunteer litter bearers began to make its way slowly down the east-bank trail toward the river. At the same time, the column of some 300 effectives, led by Colonel Nelson, Captain Rumbaugh, and Company I, 110th Infantry, moved cross country toward the
northwest to avoid the column of wounded. There was apparently no designation of advance, flank, or rear guards. The order of march for withdrawal of the effectives was as follows: Company I, 110th; the provisional 112th company under Captain Walker; the tank, tank destroyer, and engineer personnel; Company C, 112th; and the covering force, Company L, 110th. Company M, 110th, was evidently sandwiched into the column, and the few remaining men of Company K, 110th, acted as litter bearers.
Darkness enveloped the column rapidly under the covering of dense trees. To maintain contact each man placed one hand on the preceding man's shoulder. The route lay through an area that had been intensively shelled. Shattered tree branches and trunks and debris combined with nature's own obstacles, the steep hill and the darkness, to make progress very difficult. Colonel Nelson, who was leading, had to go forward a few steps at a time with his head lowered, using his helmet as a shield to keep his eyes from being gouged out by jagged branches, then pause to look up to see where he was going.
In stripping down his equipment, Colonel Nelson had lost his compass. At one point he reached an open area that in the darkness looked like a large lake. He had heard that there were dams and lakes in the vicinity of Schmidt and suspected that without his compass he had lost his way and come upon the edge of one of the lakes. Taking a tentative step and fully expecting to find himself in water, he discovered that the "lake" was simply sky-glow coming through leafless branches of deciduous trees. The contrast when coming out of the fir forest had given the illusion of water.
Not long after the column of effectives started out, enemy mortars fired into the river valley and in rear of the withdrawing column. Many men scrambled for cover, breaking the column into several large groups. The darkness and woods and debris made it impossible to re-establish contact all along the line.
Only a small group remained with Colonel Nelson in what had been the lead of the column. They came to a big rock surface and, investigating, found a sheer drop below it. Leading the men around the big rock, Colonel Nelson found himself back on the Kall trail and amidst the column of wounded. He halted his group to let the wounded pass, hoping that the main body of the column of effectives would find him. Eventually he decided to wait no longer. Taking his little group past the column of wounded, Nelson reached the bridge, crossed over, and reported to General Davis in the 109th defensive area.
The column of wounded, with its roughly improvised litters and heavy loads, had had a difficult time descending the steep hill. As the men neared the bridge area approximately five rounds of enemy mortar fire fell, wounding five men. The litter bearers continued nevertheless and reached the bridge. There they found four German soldiers guarding it and smoking openly. These guards had apparently taken their posts at the bridge since Colonel Nelson's little group had passed over. At first the Germans protested that only two men per litter would be permitted to cross, but an unidentified American medic talked with them and arranged for all to pass, including many of the litter bearers who still had their rifles.
One group of effectives under Captain
Rumbaugh had by this time been joined by another group of approximately eighty men under Colonel Ripple. Both had been separated from Colonel Nelson's lead group by enemy shelling. Together, Captain Rumbaugh and Colonel Ripple headed their men down the trail, not knowing if the bridge were held by the Germans, but determined to cross even if they had to fight their way through. They had gone only a short distance when another enemy shelling began, scattering the men again and disrupting the last semblance of organization that remained after the earlier shellings. From this time on, a column as such did not exist.
Colonel Ripple, Captain Rumbaugh, and a few men moved to the north in order to ford the river. As they approached the edge of the stream, Ripple fell about twenty feet down a steep rocky slope and was temporarily dazed. In a short while he recovered, and the group forded the river. Ripple continued with a few men into the area of the 3d Battalion, 109th Infantry. Before Rumbaugh went on, he sent a lieutenant back across the stream to search the east bank for any other men he might find. The lieutenant returned shortly with seven or eight men. Not having heard about the temporary assembly area with the 3d Battalion, 109th, Captain Rumbaugh directed these men to guide on burning buildings in Vossenack and move on to the rear. He and several other men made another quick search of the river-bank but found no other Americans. They continued their withdrawal then up the west portion of the valley trail. On the way Rumbaugh and his small group were stopped by an American soldier who told them of the temporary assembly area. They joined the 3d Battalion, 109th, and dug in for the night.
Captain Hostrup and Lieutenant Fleig, Company A, 707th Tank Battalion, had about fifty men with them when they were separated from the main column. Unaware of the orders to dig in on the west bank, they crossed the river and continued on to Vossenack, arriving there about 2300, probably the first group of appreciable size to make its way to the rear.
Other groups had varied experiences in their withdrawal. Some stopped off with the 3d Battalion, 109th; others continued straight to the rear. The cold and the rain as well as the continuous enemy shelling drove some of those who took temporary refuge at the assembly area to resume their journey to the rear. One group of eight men, including Sergeant Toner of Company I, 112th Infantry, found upon arrival in Vossenack that two Germans had somehow become intermingled with them in the darkness. Another group with Private Perll, Company C, 112th, wandered about almost the entire night before crossing the river. This group reached the west-bank positions about 0530 the next morning. A mortar section leader from Company M, 112th, 2d Lt. Wayne E. Barnett, reached the river despite having been wounded by the enemy mortar fire. As he tried to cross, another man grabbed him around the neck and almost drowned him before he could break away. Finally in Vossenack, Barnett and two other men were fired on by replacements of the 2d Battalion, 109th Infantry, before they could establish their identity.
Those who elected to remain through the night with the 3d Battalion, 109th,
were assembled just before dawn (9 November) and guided to the rear. When later reorganization took place, it was learned that almost all who had started the withdrawal had finally made their way out, even though the Germans finally demolished the Kall bridge during the night of 8-9 November. A few individuals continued to straggle to the rear for the next two days, swelling to more than 300 the number of men that had been extricated from the pocket at the Kommerscheidt woods line.6
The engineers and the 3d Battalion, 109th Infantry, had apparently made no effort to include the combined 1st-3d Battalion, 112th, aid station within their defenses near the main supply route. The aid station was thus situated in a kind of no man's land between the American foxholes and the Germans, and the enemy continued to send patrols to the dugout. Two large groups of walking wounded had nevertheless made their way out during 8 November, although there had been additional casualties from enemy shelling and sniper fire.
In the rear 1st Lt. Loyd C. Johnson, an ambulance platoon leader from Company C, 103d Medical Battalion, had made five attempts during the day to reach the aid station by weasel, but each time he had been turned back by enemy shelling on the southeastern slope of the Vossenack ridge. At 1300 the 112th Infantry surgeon, Maj. Albert L. Berndt, recommended to the division surgeon that a truce be arranged to evacuate the wounded. Neither this suggestion nor a subsequent request addressed to the 112th Infantry S-4 for an attempt to supply the aid station by air was heeded.
At approximately 1500 Lieutenant Johnson left with five ambulances and eight litter teams to go down the Simonskall road along the route taken earlier by General Davis and the 3d Battalion, 109th Infantry. He planned to establish a new ambulance loading point at the gooseneck curve on the Simonskall road, even though locating it there meant a one-mile litter carry over two high wooded hills. After dismounting and entering the woods, the litter bearers ran into an intense enemy mortar concentration. The difficult terrain plus the German fire convinced Lieutenant Johnson that the route would be all but impossible.
After dark the column of wounded from the Kommerscheidt woods line began to stream into the aid station alongside the valley trail. Since their aid station was already choked with litter patients, the medics made no effort to care for the walking wounded, merely directing them on to the rear. They had to place new litter patients on the trail beside the dugout with guards near by holding Red Cross flags. All available blankets were taken from patients and other men inside and used to cover those lying outside exposed to the rain and cold. In all, there were about sixty
28th Division Front
Dawn, 9 November 1944
litter patients. Some of the men from the Kommerscheidt defense who had served as litter bearers in the long haul down the east-bank slope were relieved of their weapons and informed that for the present they were medics. The others were told to move on to the Americans troops to the west.7
About 2300 the division surgeon telephoned Major Berndt that G-4 had ordered thirteen weasels with an armed guard to proceed immediately to the log aid station to evacuate the wounded. When both Major Berndt and the regimental S-4 protested the arming of the convoy, the plans were changed to send it forward unarmed. The convoy reached the woods just north of the entrance of the supply route into the wooded gorge about 0245 (9 November), but in the darkness the men could not locate the trail. Enemy small arms fire lashed the American vehicles, killing a medic who had volunteered to go along as a guide and forcing the convoy to withdraw.
A four-weasel medical convoy, unarmed except for Lieutenant George, 3d Battalion, 112th Infantry, motor officer, also attempted to reach the aid station after dark, but these vehicles were attacked by Germans with hand grenades and driven back without evacuating any wounded. Lieutenant George felt it unreasonable to attempt the evacuation at night when no one could see the Red Cross flags. Thus, as daylight approached on
9 November, there had been no relief for the growing group of wounded in the aid station alongside the Kall trail.8
12th and 110th Infantry Summaries
On 8 November the 12th Infantry of the 4th Division, which had relieved the 109th Infantry in the wooded sector north of Germeter, attempted to eliminate the enemy salient along the Weisser Weh Creek by attacking with one battalion east through the road blocks held by the adjacent engineers. Heavy enemy resistance prevented appreciable gains, and the battalion withdrew to its original assembly area. (Map 31) To the south the 110th Infantry planned a new attack against the pillboxes of the Raffelsbrand strong point. With the 1st Battalion holding in Simonskall, the 2d Battalion launched what was supposed to be a coordinated two-company assault against Raffelsbrand, but when one company got its attack time mixed up, jumped off early, and was repulsed, the other company's attack was canceled.9
Artillery and Air Support
During 8 November division artillery battalions continued to fire primarily at targets of opportunity upon request while the corps and general support battalions concentrated on counterbattery. At 1100 fourteen battalions fired a TOT on the woods just west of Kommerscheidt where Lieutenant Anderson, 707th Tank Battalion, had reported enemy tanks; results could not be determined. Since the first American smoke rounds of the day were not fired until 1115, the smoke that fell on Vossenack and Germeter and caused the misdirected American bombing at 1030 must have been from German guns. The 229th Field Artillery Battalion, in direct support of the 112th Infantry, during the day fired twenty-seven neutralizations, two TOT's, two registrations, and forty-two harassing missions.10
Thirty-five P-38's from the 474th Group flew the first air support mission of 8 November. They hit gun positions in the woods north of Bergstein and dropped twenty-seven bombs on Schmidt and Harscheidt and twenty-one on Nideggen, all three strikes starting fires. One aircraft was lost, probably to enemy flak. Some of the P-38's that started on this mission were vectored from it to attack enemy tanks as called for by Lieutenant Anderson, 707th Tank Battalion.
The day's second mission was directed against suspected enemy tanks, but the pilots of twelve P-47's from the 365th Group could not find their target because of low clouds and instead bombed a highway bridge at Untermaubach, north of Nideggen. This was only the second recorded attempt during the Schmidt battle to hit any of the important Roer bridges. Another squadron of the 365th bombed a small town in the Zuelpich area and attacked two warehouses at Gemuend, setting them ablaze. Ten P-38's of the 474th Group later hit the
CARGO CARRIER M-29 (WEASEL) pulling a jeep out of the mud near Vossenack. Vehicles such as this were used for evacuation of litter patients as well as for supply operations during the battle for Schmidt.
same small town in the Zuelpich area, and a fifth mission by twelve P-38's of the 474th was recalled because of weather.
This was the last major participation of air support in the Schmidt operation. Several missions scheduled for the next day were canceled because of bad weather, and after 9 November the IX Tactical Air Command returned to its primary mission of attacking transportation and communications deeper in Germany.11
The Enemy Situation
German activity on 8 November consisted primarily of patrolling and mopping-up operations near Kommerscheidt and Schmidt. With the support of two assault guns, elements of the 89th Division launched another attack against those men of Companies K and L, 112th Infantry, who had been surrounded since 4 November in the woods southwest of Schmidt. The Germans claimed to have taken 133 prisoners in their attack. The rest, they reported, were annihilated.
"The results of this stubborn and bitter fighting," the 89th Division said, "justify the losses which we, too, suffered."12
OB WEST on this date ordered Army Group B to provide for the "speedy transportation of booty" taken in the Kommerscheidt and Vossenack areas "to Wahn [Training Area] for purposes known to this command." Some of this American equipment was probably turned against this same 28th Division approximately one month later in the German counteroffensive along the Belgium-Luxembourg borders.13
Summary for 8 November and 8-9 November
This day and night had seen the evacuation of all American forces from east of the Kall River. Although the withdrawal had not gone smoothly, more because of the difficulties of terrain and darkness than because of enemy action, between 300 and 350 men had made good their escape.
The 3d Battalion, 109th Infantry, had joined the four engineer platoons in their defense of the west-bank supply route, but even the addition of this understrength battalion had not eased the situation of the combined aid station alongside the trail. About sixty to sixty-five litter patients, more than could be housed inside the dugout, had accumulated, and medical evacuation was evidently to remain a major problem.
In Vossenack the 2d Battalion, 109th Infantry, had continued to hold, while the surviving tanks and tank destroyers of the 707th Tank Battalion and 893d Tank Destroyer Battalion brought long-range fire against suspected enemy tanks. During the afternoon Company B, 109th Infantry, moved into the western end of Vossenack and the remainder of the 109th's 1st Battalion took up a defense of Germeter.
Both a limited-objective attack by the 12th Infantry to the north and a one-battalion attack in the 110th Infantry's sector against the Raffelsbrand strong point had failed. Another division field order was issued during the afternoon, calling for reorganization of the 112th Infantry and assigning holding missions to the 109th Infantry and the attached 12th Infantry. The 110th Infantry was directed to work south toward Rollesbroich.14
1. Combat Interv 77 with 109th personnel; Combat Interv 75 with Nelson; TF Davis Jnl, 8 Nov 44; 28th Div G-3 Jnl, 8 Nov 44.
2. Combat Interv 75 with 112th personnel; Combat Interv 76 with Pugh, Hostrup-Fleig-Payne; Combat Interv 77 with Rumbaugh-Joyce; 28th Div G-3 Jnl, 8 Nov 44. Information on the destruction of enemy tanks is from Combat Interview 76 with Davis-Murphy-Gardner and is told in greater detail later in the narrative.
3. Combat Interv 75 with Nelson, Dana; Combat Interv 76 with Ripple; Combat Interv 77 with Rumbaugh-Joyce. Direct quote is from V Corps Study, G-3 Sec.
4. Combat Interv 75 with Bane, Makousky, Tyo, Creegan; Combat Interv 77 with 109th personnel; Setliffe Rpt.
5. Combat Interv 76 with Granger-Anderson-Walling-Cook, Mays, Davis-Murphy-Gardner, Leming-Quarrie-Jenkins-Ryan; Combat Interv 77 with 109th personnel; 28th Div G-3 Jnl, 8 Nov 44; 109th Inf S-2 and S-3 Jnls, 8 Nov 44; 28th Div G-3 Air Jnl, 8 Nov 44; 28th Div Arty Jnl, 8 Nov 44; 707th Tk Bn S-3 Jnl, 8 Nov 44; V Corps Study, TD Sec; FUSA and IX TAC Sum, 8 Nov 44.
6. Combat Interv 75 with Nelson, Perll, Toner, Dana, Quinton-Hausman-Lockwood-Kertes-Norton, Kudiak; Combat Interv 76 with Ripple, Hostrup-Fleig-Payne, Pugh, Kelley; Interv with Barnett; Combat Interv 77 with Rumbaugh-Joyce; 28th Div G-3 Jnl, 8 Nov 44; Rpt of Interv with 2d Lt Henry W. Morrison by George Hicks in an electrical transcription of a news broadcast over Radio Station WJZ (New York) and the National Broadcasting Company Blue Network, 12 Nov 44, copy in OCMH through courtesy of Radio Station WPAY, Portsmouth, Ohio, and Albert L. Berndt, M.D., Portsmouth, Ohio.
7. Muglia Rpt; DeMarco-Linguiti Rpt. Major Berndt suggests that, had the withdrawal from the Kommerscheidt woods line come off in an orderly manner, these wounded might have been evacuated on to the rear rather than added to the burden of the aid station. But darkness, shelling, and general confusion had prevailed. See Ltr, Maj Berndt to Hist Div.
8. Berndt Rpt; DeMarco-Linguiti Rpt; Muglia Rpt; Combat Interv 75 with George; 28th Div G-3 Jnl, 8 Nov 44; 1st Lt Loyd C. Johnson, Casualty Evacuation Report (hereafter cited as Johnson Rpt), Combat Interv File 76.
9. Combat Interv 77 with 110th Inf personnel; 110th Inf S-3 Jnl, 8 Nov 44; 28th Div G-3 Jnl, 8 Nov 44.
10. 28th Div Arty Jnl, 8 Nov 44; V Corps Study, Arty Sec; 229th FA Bn AAR, 8 Nov 44.
11. FUSA and IX TAC Sum, 8-9 Nov 44; V Corps Study, G-3 Air Sec; Combat Interv 74 with Howison.
12. Daily Sit Rpt, 8 Nov 44, found in OB WEST KTB Anlagen 1.-10.XI.44.; 89th Division Order of the Day.
13. This passage is based on a secret order of 8 Nov 44, found in OB WEST KTB Anlagen 1.-10.XI.44. This order was issued by the OB WEST chief of staff upon receipt of a telephone call from Generalmajor Horst Freiherr Treusch von Buttlar-Brandenfels, a member of the Armed Forces Operations Staff.
14. 28th Div G-3 Jnl, 8 Nov 44.