After Action Report 12/1944

    SUBJECT: After Action Enemy

  1. A:     Enclosed are the After Action Reports and Journals of the following units and General Staff Sections of the 106th Division, covering action against the enemy during the month of December 1944:

    424th Infantry Regiment Report
    106th Division Artillery Report
    81st Engineer (C) Battalion Report
    331st Medical Battalion Report
    106th Division Special Troops Report
    G-1 Report
    G-2 Report
    G-3 Report
    G-4 Report

  1. B:     The commanding officers and staffs of the 422d Infantry Regiment, 423d Infantry Regiment and the 106th Reconnaissance Troop are missing in action. Their records are presumed to have been destroyed and are not available. The action of these units is covered, but not completely, in the reports and journals of the General Staff Sections. The 14th Cavalry Group was attached to the division from 111900A to 181300A December. Its action, in part, during this period is included in the reports and journals of the general Staff Sections. After 181300A December, it was attached to the 7th Armored Division.

  2.         Summary of action against the enemy for December 1944:

            The 106th Infantry Division moved from England to France and closed in its concentration area in the vicinity of Limesey, France to St Vith, Belgium, completing the move at 101830A December 1944. In compliance with an Vii Corps order the 106th Infantry Division with attachments, relieved the 2nd Infantry Division in place. The Commanding General, 106th Infantry Division assumed responsibility for the defense of the sector at 111900A December 1944. The major units attached to the division at this time were: 14th Cavalry Group, 820th Tank Destroyer Bn and the 634th AAA AW Bn (M). Early 16 December, the enemy launched a coordinated infantry-tank attack with an estimated two infantry divisions and elements of two panzer divisions preceded by an extensive artillery preparation. Captured documents taken by the division indicated the scope of the German attack. The undertaking “Grief” appeared to be part of this large scale counteroffensive. The German attack increased in fury and continued, generally along the whole sector, during the day. Reports indicated that the divisions to the north and south of the division sector were likewise receiving strong attacks and that the enemy had effected some penetrations. Local reserves were used to expel the enemy and to limit penetrations in the division sector. The 32d Cavalry Recon Sqdn was released to the 14th Cav Gp at 160705A. The 1st Bn, 424th Inf, was committed at 161145A to eject the enemy from the center of the sector of the 424th infantry and then to hold Winterspelt. The 14th Cav Gp fell back in the northern sector, exposing the north flank of the 422d Infantry. At 161700A, the 2nd Bn, 423 Infantry, in division reserve, was committed in the gap between the 14th Cav Gp and the 422nd Inf to stop the German advance around the exposed flank. By 162000A the original positions were generally intact except in the northern sector where the 14th Cav Gp was back on the line Andler-Herresbach-Wereth. CCB, 9th AD was attached 161120A at Faymonville. As soon as the unit could be contacted preparations were made for its early employment against the enemy penetration in the northern sector. Later the division commander was notified that the 7th AD was also attached and would arrive vicinity of St Vith by 170700A. Plans were then made for the morning of 17 December to use CCB, 7th AD to contain and eliminate the enemy penetration in the northern part of the division sector.

            At 170630A December, the enemy succeeded in penetrating the sector of the 423rd Infantry in the vicinity of BLEIALF. He pushed some forces north from BLEIALF while other enemy forces advances south from ANDLER, the two forces effecting a junction in the vicinity of SCHONBERG during the morning. This cut direct communication by road and wire between the units east of the BLEIALF – SCHONBERG ROAD and the remainder of the division. The units cut off were the 422nd Infantry, 423rd Infantry, 590 Field Artillery, part of the 589th Field Artillery, Co B 81st Engineer (C) Bn, Co B, 331st Medical Bn, Co C, 820th TD Bn and Btry D, 634th AAA (AW) Bn (M). Radio communication was maintained with these units until late 18 December. Arrangements were made for supplies to be dropped by air but the weather was non-operational. The 7th Armored Div did not arrive by 170700A as scheduled. The Commanding General of CCB, 7th Armored, and some reconnaissance elements of the division arrived at St Vith at 171520A. The reconnaissance elements were disposed in the late afternoon north and northeast of the town to protect the deployment of the division when it arrived. Meanwhile, the Germans had pushed on through SCHONBERG towards ST VITH. The remaining combat elements available to the division (the 81st Engineer (C) Bn less 2 Cos., with part of the 168th Engineer (C) Bn, the Defense Platoon of Division HQs Company and one platoon of tank destroyers attached) were committed to the east of St Vith. This force stopped the German advance two kilometers east of the town at 171700A. In the meantime, in the sector of the 424th Infantry, the enemy renewed his attack and by 170830A had occupied WINTERSPELT and pushed northwest towards STEINEBRUCK. This cut off the 106th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop and Troop B, 18th Cav Recon Sqdn in vicinity of MUTZENICH. CCB, 9th Armored Div was committed in a counterattack when it arrived early 17 Dec, to stop and throw back this German thrust. This counterattack was successful in securing the crossing of the OUR RIVER at STEINEBRUCK and advancing to the north edge of WINTERSPELT, but against continuously increasing enemy resistance. To the north and south of WINTERSPELT the enemy continued to push in with tanks and infantry and he also was meeting with success in the sector of the 28th Inf.Div. to the south of the 424th Inf. At 171600A, CCB, was ordered to withdraw to a defensive position northwest of the OUR RIVER and the 424th Inf was ordered to withdraw and defend west of the OUR RIVER on the south of CCB. After the arrival of the Commanding General, CC,”B” 7th AD, and his advance elements during the afternoon of 17 Dec, he was placed in command of a sector to the north of CCB, 9th AD, including St Vith. Elements of the 106th Inf.Div already in defensive positions around ST VITH were placed under his command. A counterattack to the east in the direction of ST VITH-SCHONBERG-AUW was planned for 18 Dec. At 180215A, the 422nd Inf and 423rd Inf were ordered to move to the northwest and west against the enemy force in vicinity of the SCHONBERG-ST VITH ROAD and then continue to the area ST VITH-WALLERODE-WEPPELER. They were not successful in breaking through the German forces to their rear. The enemy continued probing during the night of 17-18 Dec and early on 18 Dec renewed his attack. Tank and infantry units advanced against ST VITH from the east, northeast and north. A company of tanks and a company of tank destroyers were moved from CCB, 9th AD to the north of St Vith to hold the enemy until the arrival of the combat elements of CCB, 7th AD, which committed its elements as they arrived, so that by 180930A one battalion of armored infantry and two companies of medium tanks had been deployed. The engineer force east of the town maintained its position against repeated enemy assaults. The fight for ST VITH continued during the day but all German attacks were repulsed. In the southern part of the division sector, CCB, 9th AD and the 424th Infantry completed their withdrawal to the west of the OUR RIVER and there maintained their positions during 18 Dec. CCB, 9th AD defended the sector just south of ST VITH and the 424th Inf on its south. Contact was made with the 112th Inf (28th Inf.Div.) which had been separated from the remainder of its division. At 181300A, boundaries were changed by VIII Corps giving the 7th AD that portion of the 106th Inf.Div. sector north of the line HOUFFALIZE-ST VITH, (both inclusive to 106th Inf.Div.). The 14th Cavalry Group was attached to the 7th AD effective 181300A….. During the next three days (19, 20 and 21 Dec) a seesaw battle was in progress throughout the division sector. Heavy fighting continued around ST VITH and to the south. The 112th RCT, having been pushed back and cut off completely from its division, was attached to this division at 191600A. It was moved to the northeast and tied in with the southern flank of the 424th Inf, so that these two regiments held the shoulder of the German breakthrough to the south of the division sector. The 106th Inf.Div. passed to the control of XVIII Corps (Airborne) at 201600A. All enemy attacks were repulsed and the positions held with only minor changes throughout the sector. By the night of 21-22 Dec, the fall of ST VITH became imminent and all units of the 106th Inf.Div. and 7th AD were pulled back on Corps order to form a perimeter defense west of ST VITH and east of the SALM RIVER. This defensive position was maintained during 22 Dec.

            Late on 22 Dec, Corps ordered the 106th Inf.Div. and the 7th AD to withdraw west of the SALM RIVER, through the 82nd AbnD which had taken up a defensive position along the SALM RIVER and the road running west from SALMCHATEAU. This withdrawal was effected on 23 Dec and the division moved to the vicinity of WERBOMONT. CCB, 9th AD and the 112th RCT then passed to control of the XVIII Corps (Abn). The 592nd Field Artillery continued in general support as part of a Corps artillery group. During the withdrawal west of the SALM River, a task force from the division, composed of elements of the 589th and 590th FA Bns, stopped and held the German advance to the north at BARACQUE DE FRAITURE and protected the right flank of the 82nd Abn Div and the XVIII Corps (Abn), until relieved by elements of VII Corps. On 24 December, the 424th Infantry was attached to the 7th AD and was again committed in the vicinity of MANHAY, where it took part in the final stopping of the German advance on LIEGE. On 25 December, the 591st FA Bn and some of the service elements of the division were attached to the 7th AD. The 592nd FA Bn was attached to the XVIII (Abn) Artillery. By 30 December, all attached units except the 591st and 592nd FA Bns had reverted to division control. At the end of the month, the division was assembled west of the OURTHE RIVER in the vicinity of ANTHISNES for reorganization and resupply.

  3.         It is presumed that the 422nd Infantry Regiment, 423rd Infantry Regiment, 589th FA Bn, 590th FA Bn and the 106th Reconnaissance Troop were eventually overpowered by the German forces east of ST VITH and the bulk of the personnel captured about 19 or 20 December. The strength of the German attack in the division sector and the forces available to the division at the time prevented their being relieved. Attempts to supply the units by air failed because of the weather, although, as learned later, two drops were made but not within their reach. It is known that they were still in the fight early 19 December. It is also known that prisoners were taken by the Germans. However, the final chapter in the defense of the SCHNEE EIFFEL penetration of the SIEGFRIED LINE held by these units is not now known.

  4.         The estimated losses sustained during this period were 8490, including 415 killed in action, 1254 wounded in action and 6821 missing in action. A large part of the organizational equipment and most of the individual clothing and equipment of CT 422, CT 423 and the 106th Reconnaissance Troop were lost when these units were cut off in the SCHNEE EIFFEL region. It is believed that the bulk of the equipment was destroyed.

  5.         On 27 December, First US Army stated that the division would, until further notice, consist of the 106th Division less the 422nd Infantry, 423rd Infantry, 589th FA Bn, 590th FA Bn and the 106th Reconnaissance Troop. The authorized personnel strength of the division would be 409 officers, 30 warrant officers and 6,130 enlisted men, or a total authorized strength of 6,569. On 31 Dec, the actual strength of the division was 5,534.

                        For the Commanding General F I Agule
                        Lt Colonel, A.G.D.
                        Adjutant General


Page last revised 09/16/2016
James D. West