War Department Special Staff
Washington 25, D. C.
23 January 1946
C E R T I F I C A T E
I certify that it is the
opinion of the Historical Division, based on such records as are at
present available, that the German Army units initially opposed to the
United States 106th Infantry Division on the 16th and 17th of December
1944 (the first two days of the battle of the Ardennes were as follows:
1. 18th Volksgrenadier Division
2. 62nd Volksgrenadier Division
3. 116th Panzer Division
4. Elements 26th Volksgrenadier Division
5. Elements 2nd Panzer Division
C E R T I F I C A T E
24 June 1945
I certify that I am S-3 of the 106th Division Artillery; that I have in my possession notes made by me in December of 1944 for the purpose of preparation of the After Action Report of the 106th Division Artillery; and that, by reference to these notes, prepared at the time the action occurred, I am able to certify that:
(a) The 589th Field Artillery Battalion, 106th Infantry Division, commenced relief of the 15th Field Artillery Battalion, Second Infantry Division, on the 9th day of December, 1944.
(b) That registration of the 589th Field Artillery Battalion was completed at about 1600, 9 December 1944.
(c) That the 589th Field Artillery Battalion was the first unit of the 106th Infantry Division to occupy position in Germany, and its registration was the first fire delivered by any unit of the Division against the Germans.
(d) That the relief of the Second Division was completed 11 December 1944 and responsibility for fire control of the entire sector shifted to the 106th Division Artillery at 1915, 11 December 1944.
/s/ BENJAMIN J. HAGMAN
BENJAMIN J. HAGMAN
Lt Col, FA
106th Div Arty
C E R T I F I C A T E
24 June 1945
I certify that, to the best of my knowledge:
(a) The 106th Division Artillery relieved the Second Division Artillery on the night of the 11-12 December 1944.
(b) That the relief of the Second Division was effected by combat team and the 422nd Combat Team commenced its relief on the 9th of December by the occupation of the 15th Field Artillery Battalion positions by the 59th Field Artillery Battalion.
© That the 589th Field Artillery Battalion commenced its movement into position at 1230, 9 December 1944.
(d) That the first registration was fired at approximately 1600 by Battery A, of which First Lieutenant Eric Fisher Wood, Jr., was battery executive, and that Sergeant Scannapico was chief of the registering howitzer section and Pfc Earl Copenhaver was No. 1 cannoneer.
(e) That this was the first mission fired by the 589th Field Artillery Battalion in combat.
(f) That the 589th Field Artillery Battalion had received no hostile fire in its gun position prior to 16 December 1944.
/s/ ARTHUR C PARKER III
ARTHUR C. PARKER III
Maj, 589th FA Bn
I, Major Elliot Goldstein, FA, 0 408 175, on the evening of 2 August 1945, hear Hochst, Germany, certify the following:
From January 1944 until 22 December 1944 I served as Executive Officer of the 589th FA Bn; after which date I commanded the Bn. I was present with the Bn in all of its positions during December. The following events (with particular reference to 16th and 17th December 1944) with reference to Btry “A” and 1st Lt. Eric F. Wood Jr were observed by me; or are known by me to be true.
1. On the morning of 16 December 1944 589th FA Bn was in position SW of AUW in Germany. The AUF-BELIALF Road ran from front to rear through the center of the Bn. Bn CP and FDC and Hq Btry were located on this road. “B” Btry was to the left flank of the CP at a distance of some 600 yds. “C” Btry was to the right front at a distance of over 1000 yds. “A” Btry’s position was in a pine wood on a knoll, on the right flank of the Bn CP where I was stationed, and in plain view from it across a shallow valley of bare ground at a distance of about 600 yds. Accurate enemy FA fires started hitting in it at about 0630 or a bit later. It received at least 15 or 25 bursts, - many of them air bursts in the trees. Immediately afterward Eric checked for casualties, but nobody hurt. Because Eric, in the 2 or 3 days the Btry had been in position, had industriously organized shelters with overhead protection.
2. There was a house on the skyline in plain sight to right front of Btry “A”. It could have been an enemy CP, which would have explained the accuracy of the enemy fires. Eric asked for volunteers to raid that house. 5 men went with him. He led them. They had small arms. 1st Sgt Coffey, Pvt (now Sgt) Casky, Pct Cody and 2 others. They covered the house from the outside, and Eric went into it alone and thoroughly searched it. Empty.
3. Then the fire missions really came in for “A” Btry to fire. These fires, observed by Lt Fomenko, were very effective. Eric had cooks, drivers, everybody handling ammunition. They were down to “Iron Rations” (25 rds per gun), and were about to report same at about 1100 hours when Bn AM Train rolled in with more ammunition.
4. “A” Btry began to hear and receive SA fires at about 1530. Then a column of 3 enemy “tanks”, supported by infantry and by lots of automatic fire, appeared to the left front of the Btry. They were coming down the AUF-BELIALF Road (from right to left across the left flank of “A” Btry) and were heading directly for the Bn Hq installations on that road. They were defiladed
From “B” and “C” Btries. Casky, cannoneer of #4 piece (the left flank piece) of “A” Btry gave the alarm, and the crew shot at the leading “tank” ut missed. Eric with his field glasses, took post in the open under SA fire. He called data to #4, and adjusted direct fire. His first shot was a very close “line over”. His second shot was a direct hit, sitting the “tank” on fire. This “put their tails up” for his whole Btry. The men cheered. This leading “tank” was already within about 200 yds of the Bn CP and FDC. Had it not been stopped all 3 “tanks” with their supporting troops would certainly have continued into the Bn Hq and Hq Btry with disastrous results. Lt Wood followed up with 4 or 5 more rounds, all hits directly into the “tank”; and then switched fire to the other two. These withdrew, with their accompanying troops. One of them appeared to be damaged. However, they both completed their withdrawal to hull-down position. Actually the enemy vehicles were Mark IV, tracked, assault guns, mounting 75 mm cannon, with enemy inf riding on them. “A ”Btry fired at them and neutralized them. SA fire, tearing through “A” Btry position all the while, might have made the men panicky. But they were reassured by Eric’s calmness, by seeing him out in front, in the open, with his glasses successfully commanding the direct fire against the enemy. Later, with Fwd observation, “A” Btry adjusted on one of the two hull-down “tanks”, hit it, and destroyed it. 2d Lt O’Toole was a hell of a fine boy, team mate to Eric, his Asst Btry Exec. Btry “A” continued fire missions against enemy Inf, etc., until dark.
5. Before dark, and thereafter, the Germans kept fire whistling though “A” Btry’s positions. SA, heavy Mgs, burp guns, with plenty of tracers. IT would have badly rattled a unit that did not have superior leadership. At dark Lt Com Kelley said “no more firing”; because no observation and because flashes would give away our exact locations for enemy counter-fires.
6. The men in the Btry knew that they were supposed to displace that night. 2d Bn, 423rd Inf, Lt Col Puiett CO, recommended to Div CG that he be allowed to organize Schonberg, and thereby cover a Div withdrawal. He was refused and accordingly came up to where we were.
7. When 106 Div went in originally, it had had no Inf mortar ammunition. The Div Arty had to take over mortar missions. This required deep How pits; and necessitated taking up the gun-pit flooring that 2d Div had previously laid, in order to sufficiently depress the tails. Now, when a withdrawal under fire became necessary, it was a Herculean task to get the 105 mms out a hurry. Moreover, the German FA had blown two craters in the corduroy road leading out of “A” Btry’s position across the fields to the hard road – necessitating detours through hub-deep mud to get the prime movers and pieces out of initial positions and on the way back to the 2d positions. Eric (now commanding “A” Btry since Capt Menka had become a casualty the previous evening) and O’Toole were everywhere. Whenever it was necessary to winch out a How, they were there. O’Toole, about 2130, (plus 6 EM) left Eric and went back with me to the next (2d) position. Eric got his pieces out, through the mud, by all sorts of expedients. For instance, by coupling 2 and 3 trucks tandem with tow ropes; all under fire and in the dark with only shell bursts and distant gun flashes to light the work. Eventually, by such means, all 4 Hows got out on the hard road. Then Eric took a detail of 6 or 7 men back to the Btry position, though which bullets were still whistling, on foot, to make sure all serviceable equipment and ammunition had been taken, and that all valuable equipment and material had been evacuated.
8. The new Bn position was a very small goose-egg – the exposition of “C” Btry of 741st FA (8” How) – which Kelly had received from Div Arty. It was an extremely difficult position to defend. If occupied, we could not cover the road leading into it from the direction of the enemy.
9. A position was designated by me in this location to Lt O’Toole (who was accompanied by several EM, including Casky) – the best one available, but hard to get into and out of. He and Casky rcn’d it and found a track – (rutted farm road) into and through and out of the position. While this Rcn was going on, German machine pistols were already being fired in and through the neighboring woods. Some time around 0500 Eric arrived with “A” Btry guns and put them into position (3 of them). #2 piece was lame and plugging along near “S” Btry’s position with Sgt Alford, its prime mover having been injured while the Btry was making a cut-off through a rough corduroy road to avoid using the highway at the place we called “Dead Men’s Corner”, which was under fire and observation. When “A” Btry’s 3 guns were in position, and ammo unloaded, (but guns not laid), on account of darkness and wire still being laid) Eric told the Section Chiefs to have their men sleep at the pieces, 1 man per section awake as a security guard. Eric placed these security guards himself and instructed them. Then he went to Maintenance position to see if his kitchen was in position. Then he came back to the road to see if he could locate his lame #2 piece. There he found Sgt Alford with that piece which he halted and unlimbered enfilading the road back toward “S” Btry about 1000 yds S of us, as he could hear heavy firing in that direction. Then he (with Alford) came to Bn Hq CP to report and get orders, around daylight.
10. About daylight the phone rang. There was an increased amount of SA fire going on in the vicinity. But I had been hearing them all day and all night, and didn’t pay any particular attention to them. The phone call was from Capt Cagle, “S” Btry, who said he was surrounded by enemy Inf and tanks at his position. He was told to keep shooting at them and that we would move Hows up to support him. (From prescribed position we could not shoot to the S, as I have already indicated.) However, Cagle called again about 2 minutes later and said he was done for and it appeared to him he had no choice but ultimately be overrun, but that he was still fighting.
11. I talked to Maj Parker (Actg Bn CO since Lt Col Kelley had become a causality the night before) and recommended that we displace immediately across the OUR River, and reassemble in front of St. Vith. I knew our ground and how unfavorable it was, and Parker didn’t. Parker accepted my recommendation and ordered that the Btries be notified accordingly. At that moment all phone lines went out. I think the switchboard operator, listening in, had got panicky and beat it. In then went out of the Bn CP to notify the Btries personally. Immediately outside the CP I met Eric with Sgt Alford. We could hear loud SA fire all around us. Eric asked, “What’s the score ?” I said, “We are displacing, via Schonburg, to reassemble in front of St. Vith. March order your Btry and get going.” Eric said, “I have my lame How in position on the road, enfilading the road back toward “S” Btry. Shall I continue it in position ?” But its brakes were out and the road slippery. Moreover with its prime mover injured, I was afraid we could lose it if it had to pull out under pressure. And “S” Btry was still covering us. So I told Eric to move his lame piece out also. Eric turned, and ordered him to continue the march, as best he could by himself on St. Vith, starting immediately. Eric then went for the rest of his Btry on the double. I, personally, never saw him again. Then I visited “B” Btry and finally Lt Wright of “C” Btry’s vacant . Meanwhile Eric had ordered Lt Crowley to go to the Maintenance position and get the kitchens, mechanics, maintenance trucks, etc., out of position and get them rolling through Schonburg on St. Vith, by vehicle.
12. Meanwhile the SA fires were getting nosier in all directions, and bullets were spattering around from many directions. In particular, the firing from the direction of “S” Btry, about 1000 yds away air-line to our rear, was getting louder and nearer. To cap the climax, casual vehicles with panic-stricken drivers came tearing through our positions yelling alarms and warnings. For instance, a QM truck – one of those that had moved 2d Bn of 423d Inf up front during the night – came by and its driver shouted to everybody to the effect that German Inf and tanks were “right on their tail”, that everybody had better “beat it” instantly, etc. As a result panic conditions were beginning. But Eric kept his head, and completely allayed any panic in “A” Btry. Moreover, his men had come to have absolute confidence in him.
13. Eric sent Pvt Casky to get the howitzers out and fortunately , Caskey had reconnoitered a road which led out of the position to the North. He got the pieces coupled and led tow of the them through “B” Btry’s position onto the road. The third piece didn’t follow him but turned to go out the way it had come in, along the farm road. The driver took a wrong fork into a farmyard or something and mired down. During all this time Eric remained on the highway at the southernmost end of the position, where he could assure himself that everything in the Btry had been evacuated. Now he stuck with this last howitzer, with SA fires and Germans behind him and on both sides of him – and ahead of him as it later turned out. Eventually he got it loose and with it started after the Bn. But at a long distance; a distance much of which must by that time have been under close-range small arms fire. At St. Vith, some time later, I found that none of “B” Btry’s howitzers had come in; that one of “A” Btry’s and Eric were missing.
13. I can add only 3 things about what happened to him later.
a. Sgt Aspinwall of Hq Btry (who eventually escaped to St. Vith by himself) told me that after Eric’s gun and vehicle had been destroyed by tank cannon fire, and completely surrounded, at the western end of Schonburg, he (Sgt Aspinwall) saw Eric, alone and by himself, under heavy SA fire running up hill towards the woods north of Schonburg.
14. This statement is based in part on my own knowledge, and in part on statements made to me by 1st Sgt George Blaizin, Hq Btry; SSgt Francis Aspinwall, Hq Btry; and SSgt Johnny B. Jordan, “A” Btry. I checked their stories very carefully against each other and against the known physical facts and believe them to be true.
/s/ ELLIOTT GOLDSTEIN
General Wood has added this note:
It is to be presumed
that Lt O’Toole was ordered by Eric to follow on the tail of these pieces
(on the tail of the Btry, less the one piece that Eric was struggling
Interview 17 June 1945 near Nachtsheim, Germany, with the following officers, all of them participants of the actions of 16-17 December 1944, and all of them members of 589th FA Bn, except Lt Col Hagman (of Div Arty staff).
Allford, Barney M., Jr. 2nd Lt
Brimer, Jas 2nd Lt
Cassibry, Graham H 1st Lt
Cocks, Joseph W. Capt
Huxel, George F. Major
Kiendl, Theodore, Jr. 1st Lt
Leach, Ambrose R. 1st Lt
Miller, Delbert L. 2nd Lt
Parker, Arthur C., III Major
Scott, Earl A. 1st Lt.
Hagman, Ben J. Lt Col
1. The above officers read and confirmed all statements in the interrogation of 2 May 1945 at Moosburg, except as to the following relatively minor points:
a. Par 4, line 3: Enemy FA fires began at 0605 on 16 December instead of “about 1630”.
b. Par 4, line 6: A & C Btries received enemy automatic small arms fires during the daytime also. C Btry from about 1100, A Btry from about noon or 1300. These fires were at times heavy.
c. Par 4, line 9: B Btry extricated the piece referred to, It was, however, later abandoned with the other 3 B Btry pieces at the second position. It was not a piece, but B Btry’s kitchen truck, that was abandoned on the “cut-off” road.
d. Par 5, line 13: B Btry’s second position was only about 400 yds beyond (N) of A Btry’s second position, instead of “about 1 mi road distance”.
e. Par 5, line 15: B Btry occupied new (second) position with 4 pieces, instead of with “only 3 pieces”. See sub-par c, above.
f. Par 5, line 17: The first warning was delivered by a QM truck, probably a Div truck, coming back fro the rear guard position, not by “an A Btry prime mover”. Several subsequent warnings were received, including one from MP’s in a jeep. So that A and B were currently and continuously aware of the critical nature of their situation.
g. Par 7, line 3: “Ninth Army” should read 9th Armed Div.
2. Additional information:
a. Lt Alford stated that, at the second position, he was present with Lt Wood when the latter received orders from Bn at Bn CP (which was located about midway between positions of A and B Btries, or about 200 yds from either) to the effect that A Btry was to withdraw immediately by vehicle via Schonburg to St. Vith.
3. a. No information was available as to what happened after Lt Wood’s prime mover was hit by cannon fire at the west exit to Schonburg. This truck was A Btry’s No. 8, pulling No. 1 piece. Of the ten members of the gun crew (drivers excluded) none have been heard from since. Except the Section Chief, Sgt Scannapico, and the driver, T/5 Knoll, whose bodies were among the six later (in February) found “Killed in Action.”
b. It appears that no other officer was on this truck with Lt Wood. Of the officers who might have been with him, all are otherwise accounted for. Lts Crowley and O’Toole were elsewhere in a jeep. Lt Euler was last seen on foot, S of Schonburg, by the last of B Btry’s withdrawing vehicles.
c. The 3 pieces that were extricated from the second position by Lt Wood on 17 December constituted the supporting FA at the “Road Block Fight” of 23 December. It is doubtful if that fight could have been the success it was without the presence of these pieces – the only surviving ones of 589th FA Bn.
4. We certify that the above statements are true and correct to the best of our knowledge and belief.
(Signed by all officers listed)
C E R T I F I C A T E
1. On the 16th of December 1944, I was chief of the second gun section, Btry A, 589th FA Bn. 1st Lt Eric F Wood Jr. was battery executive officer. We were in position neat Laudesfeld, Germany, about 300 yds south of the battalion CP, which was located on the main road running east from Auw, Germany.
2. Our pieces were not placed according to the number of the section. The third gun section was in the number four position on the left flank. My section was in the number three position, the fourth section was in the number two position, and the first gun section was in the number one position.
3. On the morning of 16 December 1944, we received about 50 rounds of medium and heavy caliber artillery in our position starting about 0600. During one of the lulls in the firing, I saw Lt Wood going from one position to another, making sure that all of the men were in the shelters that he had had us to build, and that no one had been hurt.
4. After the firing stopped, Lt Wood called for volunteers to go on a patrol to a house to the southeast which overlooked our position to make sure that there was no one there who was observing our position. Four or five of us went. Lt Wood went out at the head of the patrol, and when we reached the house, Lt Wood had us cover the outside while he went inside.
5. We fired steadily from about nine o’clock until about 1600 in the afternoon. We fired all the ammunition in the position, and in the battery ammunition dump, and were firing as fast as the ammunition could be unloaded from vehicles of the ammunition train. That afternoon at about 1500 one of the sections gave the alarm for tanks, and I saw Lt Wood go forward of the position with his glasses to observe them. Then I got busy firing and don’t remember seeing him after that except that after we finished firing I saw him at the left flank of the battery near the piece that was in the number four position.
6. That night we were ordered to displace to the rear. At about 2400 we began to march order the pieces and trying to get the pieces out of the position. We loaded 83 rounds of ammunition in each prime mover, and began trying to get out of the soft mud. Lt Wood had to take one of the prime movers and help pull one of the other howitzers out. It took about three hours to get everything out of the position and up to the main road. During that time small arms fire was going overhead into the area where our guns had been. We finally moved out about 0400.
7. On the way down, my truck ran into a howitzer tube ahead of me, and I had to fall out of the column. My radiator was broken and my truck would only run a short distance. I waited on the road until daylight, and then was able to get almost to the new position by running for short distances until the motor quit. When I got close to the position I could hear firing behind us. Lt Wood told me to set up my howitzer on the road for antitank defense, and I started trying to get it into position on the road, since there was a bank on one side and a ditch on the other. The brakes were no good and we couldn’t hold it in position, so we tried to chock the wheels with boxes. Then a jeep (1/4 ton) came by and the occupants said that tanks were coming, accompanied by infantry on their flanks.
8. Lt Wood said we wouldn’t be any good against infantry out in the road, so he ordered me to march order, and to meet him on the other side of Schonburg, “if he got there”. I did not see him again. On the other side of Schonburg my truck broke down again, and Capt Cocke stopped a weapons carrier and hitched my howitzer to it.
9. All of the three howitzers that were at Baroque de Fraiture were “A” Battery howitzers; only Sgt Scannipico’s howitzer was lost going through Schonburg. We manned all three of the howitzers, and were able to cover all the approaches to out position there by use of these pieces.
/s/ BARNEY M. ALFORD, JR.
BARNEY M. ALFORD JR.
2d Lt, FA
Abstracts from an affidavit (of which there are n copies available) by Philippe L. Berube, a Private in the 1st Gun Section of Btry A, 589th FA Bn, made after his return from being a POW in Germany:
"About dawn on the 17th enemy attacks were renewed upon us in our new position. Our Bn was ordered to displace again immediately. Lt Wood gave Btry A march order, and directed that we move, by vehicle, through Schonburg to St. Vith (over a road with which our drivers were familiar.)
"The 3rd and 4th sections and the other vehicles of our Btry were able to move out with reasonable promptness. I presume that Lt O'Toole followed their tail. But our section was much delayed ******
"Lt Wood was a swell guy to the Btry he partly commanded and no one of us thought of him and Lt O'Toole the same as we commonly felt of average officers. We regarded them as men who were concerned with our welfare in preference to their own. ****
1100 Hours, 2d May 1945, Stalag VII-A,
Moosburg, near Munich.
1. German offensive started after daylight, 16th Dec 1944.
2. At first it was not tough in our vicinity. First fire mission called for, in support of Inf in their opposition to the offensive, came through to A Btry about 0900 from Bn FDC. Such missions, to the number of 15 or 20, by A Btry, were fired between 0900 and 1300, - at which time wire communications from Bn forward went out (except as far as CP 422nd Inf) - no forward observers had Bn wire con. after 1300. The weight of the enemy's initial attack was to our left front - to the NE of the Bn area - in the vicinity of AUW. C Btry could not fire in this area, due to defilade of trees, etc.
3. Fire missions were continued through the afternoon up to 1600 by other means that Bn wire to Fwd observers. For instance, 1st Lt Fomenko, Fwd Observer with 422d Inf., from a hill neat Inf Regt Hq, had exceptional observation on enemy assemblies and movements in the general area NE of AUW. He had radio communication with Bn, was given priority over other Fwd observers, and conducted the fires of the Bn (less C Btry on acct defilade) continuously from about 1300 to about 1500 (by which time the enemy had captured AUW). These fires, delivered in the case of A Btry by Lt Wood as Btry Exec. were very effective and inflicted serious causalities upon the enemy. By 1500 the enemy had captured AUW. At which time Lt Wright took over, by a circuitous wire net through CP AA and CP 592d FA to CP 589th FA; and conducted fires on AUW and its SW exits until about 1600, at which time enemy Inf in trucks and half-tracks, supported by cannon-bearing tracked vehicles, attacked the Bn position. Axis of enemy attack: the road leading westerly through the Bn area to Bn CP. This occurred not long before dark, 1600 or a little later. B Btry could not see this attack from its gun positions; and only one gun of C Btry (No. 3) could do direct fire (with difficulty). But all of A Btry's guns could bear. These guns made direct fire on the enemy vehicles, destroying 3 plus an enemy cannon-bearing tracked vehicle (burned up from a direct hit from A Btry's No. 4). In addition one additional vehicle was destroyed by a Hq Btry bazooka. The enemy attack was broken up at the Aid Sta, while this was going on A Btry's position was under enemy supporting fires from enemy mortars and auto weapons.
4. After this things quieted down some; but there was intermittent enemy mortar and FA fires. FA volleys, a volley at a time, had been falling on the Bn positions off and on all day since about 0630 (before dawn). These fires acted like Map Data or Sound Ranging (not observed) fires. Volleys fell on positions of A & C Btries and in vicinity Bn CP. One shell, a dud, lit 10 yds in front of No. 1 piece of A Btry. Mortar fire fell on all Btries during the late afternoon attack. A & C Btries received automatic small arms fire during the evening and night. C Btry was having trouble with enemy Inf off and on all day from about 1100. From early in the afternoon our Bn was expecting and awaiting arrival of 2d Bn 423d Inf to occupy the approx area of our Bn - upon which our Bn was going to withdraw to a more rearward supporting position. But Inf leading elements did not begin to arrive until 0030.
5. The elements of our Bn received warning order to be ready to withdraw, upon arrival of the Inf. This warning order was received by Btries around 1900. At about 0030 (17 Dec) orders were received to get out of position and fall in on highway, head of column at Bn CP, as soon as possible. Order of march: Hq & Hq Btry, B, A, C. S Btry was to stand fast because the new Bn position area was in vicinity of S Btry's existing position. The Bn (less C Btry which never arrived) moved out at about 0400 17 Dec. Route of march: Hard road toward Bliealf to point about 2500 yds from (N of) Bliealf - cut off westwards over very bad one-way road partly very hilly and partly narrow corduroy (B Btry abandoned a piece there, which was off the corduroy and holding up the whole column) - hard road northwards towards Schonburg. S Btry's stand fast position was in vicinity Junction of cut-off and Schonburg road. A Btry's new position about 1 mi road distance beyond (N) of A Btry. B & A Btries both occupied their new positions, each with only 3 pieces. They had been in position 20 or 30 minutes when, following sounds of firing to the rear (S) and warned each Btry that "German tanks were fighting at S Btry's position, would soon be on their tails, etc." Lt Wood gave "March Order" to A Btry. B Btry took similar action except they abandoned their guns. Withdrawal on St. Vith was by vehicle, not by Btry. All 3 A Btry guns got out onto the road without enemy interference. But the third piece stuck repeatedly. Lt Wood stayed with it after the rest of the Bn had long since departed, and finally got it on the road. This was responsible for Lt. Wood's later being cut off.
6. In the meantime Capt Brown or B Btry had been joined by 1st Lt Wright of C. (The latter had been sent back from C Btry's initial position to Rcn and mark C Btry's new positions - but C never had arrived.) Brown (accompanied by Lts Wright and Euler) in a truck, after departure of B Btry's other vehicles, checked B Btry area to be sure all material and personnel had cleared. While they were doing so Lt Wood came from the rear (S) with a prime mover and its howitzer, informed them that it was his last piece out of the position, and then continued his march via Schonburg on St. Vith. Capt Brown et al followed Lt Wood at a short delay. On the south edge of Schonburg they caught up with Lt Wood, halted. Since the passage of the rest of the Bn, Schonburg (1) had been enveloped (and its western part occupied) by enemy Inf and (2) was being shelled supposedly by US FA. Lt Wood decided to run the gauntlet through the town - and did so followed at 100 or 200 yds by the B Btry vehicles. They all "made it" through the town. But on exiting from the western edge of town Lt Wood's prime mover was disabled by point blank tank cannon fire from across the OUR River. Capt Brown and Lts Wright and Euler thereupon halted their B Btry vehicles among the last 3 houses, being fired at by riflemen from these houses, and they and about a dozen EM abandoned their truck and took off northwards up the hill that lay along the right (N) side of the highway. As they dismounted one of their EM was hit by an enemy rifleman in one of the houses. This was between 0900 and 1000. Half way up the hill the B Btry party was heavily fired on by burp guns ahead of and above them, and "hit the dirt". At almost the same moment enemy Inf marching on foot exited from village near their abandoned vehicle and started firing at them from below. The party had scattered when it hit the dirt. Lt Wright presumes that all its members were captured. He himself was "rounded up" shortly before noon, as soon as he tried to move out of the cover he had taken.
7. Later that day Lt Wright and 2 officers from Rcn Sqdn and over 60 assorted EM, being carelessly guarded, took "to the woods" and eventually reentered our lines northerly of St. Vith at position of C Btry, 16th FA, 9th Army. He was recaptured 23 December at the Road Block fight 9 mi W of Vielsalm.
8. After capture officers marched at head of column, but were not otherwise separated from their men for a week - but before they crossed the Rhine. First permanent POW camp was IX-B at Bad Orb. We have read General Wood's Annex 5 of 21 April re treatment of our EM by the Germans. The treatment accorded us officers was in general so similar during the first month after capture that is would be repetitious for us to give the details of our particular treatment as officers. In fact Lt Wright followed the identical route as far as Limburg.
9. At Limburg the camp was bombed at night, Christmas Eve, 24-25 Dec. 1st Lt McClellan, S Btry; 2d Lt O'Toole, A Btry; 2nd Lt Semple, C Btry were all killed. Capt Brown was wounded by bomb fragment from a P38 or P47 on afternoon of (about) 15 or 16 Jan. He was recovering when last heard from. We know nothing about Capt Rockwell, C Btry, or 2d Lt Sweet, C Btry. We know now about all the other officers (since you have told us about Lt Col Kelly, Capt Menke, and Lts Wood and Kiendle) up to 27 March or thereabouts. But this does nor mean that we know the recent history of all the captured officers.
we certify to the truth and correctness of the above.
/s/ by all officers listed above.
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James D. West