A friend sent this today - I've not read 'Death in December' just reading
this makes you stop breathing.
I'm going to go see what I can find in google about it.
Time to remember.......................
THE ARDENNES, 16 DEC. 1944
HOUR MESSAGE RECEIVED AT 106th's CP
01:10 Commanding Officer (CO), 14th Cavalry Group (Cav Gp): 'Troop C,
18th 18th Cav in Weckerath, sent out a patrol under the command of Lt.
Max L. Crawford just after midnight. The small hamlet of Allmuthen was
full of Germans, but the small patrol managed to get away after a brief
fire fight. On their way back to Afst they ran into another enemy force
of more then thirty well-armed infantrymen, marching west. Lt. Crawford
says they've never encountered so many enemy in his area.'
01:40 CO, 424th Infantry Regiment (424th Inf.): 'Heavy mortar fire is
falling on Company K west of Heckhuscheid.'
05:13 S-3 (Operations Officer) 14th Cav Gp: 'Troop A, 18th Cav reports
they observed two red flares east of Roth.'
05:15 S-3, 14th Cav Gp: 'I am receiving heavy artillery fire on
-Repeat- all my forward units and my Command Post (CP).
reports have come in yet and I'll advise you as soon
as info is
available. What's going on? This is a hell of a lot of artillery for a
05:28 CO, 423d Inf.: 'Have received heavy artillery fire on my forward
units and Command Post (CP). No ground attack at this time, but all our
wire communications to front line units are knocked out. I've sent out
teams to attempt to restore commo immediately.'
0532 S-3, 423d Inf. Regt: 'We're receiving another bunch of artillery
fire in our sector. We haven't seen this much activity since we've been
here. My S-2 (Intel officer) has been listening in on the division net
and tells me others are getting hit. Please keep us advised on what's
0545 S-3, 14 Cav Gp: 'We are receiving all types of artillery, mortar
and rocket fire on our forward positions. Lasting about 15 minutes, the
CP of the 18th Cav in Manderfeld received approximately 100 rounds of
medium and heavy arty fire. No report of ground attacks so -Break- The
2d Platoon, Troop C 18 Cav (2/C/18) in Krewinkel, reports a large enemy
column approaching his position. Apparently the enemy doesn't know his
unit is there and Lt. Farrens is holding fire until they get within
twenty yards.' (By announcing -Break- the sender is saying he hasn't
finished, but is changing the subject.)
0550 S-3, 424th Inf. : 'CO of Company K at Heckhuscheid, reports enemy
troops under cover of arty, are approaching his position. Visibility is
poor and the size of the enemy element not known at this time, but
Company K is hitting them with arty and direct fire weapons.'
0600 S-3, 14th Cav Gp: 'Large enemy force is attacking Troop A in Roth
and Kobscheid and Troop C in Krewinkel. The enemy troops are pushing
hard and both Troops are engaging with all their weapons at this time.
Lt. Farrens, Platoon Leader of 3/C/18 in Krewinkel reports they're
killing a lot of Germans. '
0602 S-3, 423d Inf. : 'Most of enemy arty has shifted to the rear, but
front line units still getting hit. Our wire communication is still out,
but the radios are working well. No report of ground attacks yet
but -Break- AT Company at Bleialf reports receiving small arms fire from
attacking force, size unknown. Will keep you informed.'
0603 Corps Information Message: 'All -Repeat- all units along Corps
front are receiving heavy enemy arty fire. Rounds are falling as far
back as Clervaux. Communications with forward units are seriously
disrupted. Capt. Conlin, the CO of Company B, 291st Eng. Bn. in Malmedy,
reports receiving arty from enemy railroad guns. All units will make
every effort to maintain communications with this headquarters.'
0604 Lt.Col. Riggs, CO, 81st Eng. Bn.: 'At Schönberg, nine km east of
St. Vith, my Hqs & Service Company and Company B have been under enemy
arty fire since 0530. Company A in Auw, reports the same, but says that
most of the fires have shifted to the rear. Company A has no casualties
and will continue with their normal missions when possible. Lt. Coughlin
's 1st Platoon will go to 422d's headquarters in Schlausenbach and Lt.
Woerner's 3d Platoon will go to the area of 3d Bn. 422d Inf.'
0610 CO 14th Cav Gp: 'Enemy troops are in many locations in the Losheim
Gap and are attacking Krewinkel, Afst and Roth. My scattered forces are
fighting for their lives, and it appears the main enemy attack is
continuing to the west -Repeat- main attack is continuing to the west!'
0632 Corps Info Message: 'Enemy aircraft are attacking key airfields,
headquarters and Lines of Communications (LOCs = roads, rail, etc.).
Enemy ground units are using searchlights, "bouncing" the light off
clouds to provide artificial moonlight. North of the 106th ID, the 99th
ID is under heavy attack. A patrol the 99th sent to gain contact with
the 14th Cav Gp, reported the Losheim Gap was overrun with enemy troops.
That was the last report from the patrol and it appears they were killed
0700 S-3, 14th Cav Gp; 'Outnumbered ten to one, Troops A and C have
repulsed repeated enemy attacks and the enemy has pulled back. This is a
pause only and the enemy is regrouping to continue the attack. I have no
report of casualties at this time.' "Front lines still intact; things
well in hand."
0730 CO, 423d Inf.: 'Enemy advancing on Bleialf is threatening to cut
off Troop B, 18th Cav and I -Break- Enemy is now in Bleialf -Repeat-
enemy are in Bleialf now! They wiped out one of my platoons defending
there and I urgently need permission to use my 2d Bn. so I can launch a
counterattack. I fully understand that 2/423 is part of the division
reserve, but the Bleialf situation is serious and is a threat to the
division's defense. Have alerted Service Company and Cannon Company to
move to the support of Bleialf. I'll try and do my best with what I
have, but if we want to kick those people out, I need my 2d Bn. released
to me now!'
0804 CO, 14th Cav Gp: 'After brutal fighting, Lt. Farrens, the platoon
leader of 2/C/18 in Krewinkel has again successfully defended the town
and the enemy has withdrawn. As they withdrew, one German yelled in
English: "Take a ten minute break. We'll be back." Lt. Farrens yelled
back: "We'll be waiting for you, you son of a bitch. " The platoon has
two friendly WIA (wounded in action) and estimated enemy losses are 375.
0807 CO, 423d Inf.: 'Troop B, 18th Cav (B/18) are under heavy attack and
are being pushed back by enemy tanks and infantry. There is a serious
threat to his flank and he is in danger of being cut off.'
0808 CO, 14th Cav Gp: 'Lt. Mills, the executive officer (XO) of Troop C,
drove through a hail of fire to deliver ammo to Krewinkel. The supplies
were delivered, but shortly after his gallant drive, Lt. Mills was
killed by enemy small arms' fire.'
0830 Radio Transmission overheard by 106th ID Commo Platoon:
'Conversation between the Executive Officer (XO), 2d Bn. 394th Inf. and
the Intelligence Officer (S-2), of the 394th: 'Reference your recent
Intel. report that said the Germans, have only two horse drawn artillery
pieces opposite us. Well, just want you to know that,' "they sure worked
those horses to death."
0840 CO, 424th Inf.: 'The following is a brief summery of actions in
424th sector. Commencing at 0530 hours, heavy arty fire fell through out
the area seriously damaging our communications. Enemy infiltrated just
below Heckhuscheid, struck Company K and fought their way into the
village of Heckhuscheid. Company L was penetrated and their company CP
attacked. Company L was pushed back, but we will counterattack soon.
Enemy attacked 112th Inf. to our south and pushed back friendlies there,
but we caught Jerry on the flank and inflicted heavy casualties. I've
plugged the gap, but my 2d Bn. is getting tied-up in the fight down
there. Most dangerous situation is on my left and I am not certain of
the situation with the 106th ID Recon. Troop. Their silence is ominous
and I am very concerned that Cannon Company could be hit from flank and
rear. No firm count on friendly casualties yet, but I will have figures
shortly and -Break- Cannon Company reports they are receiving some small
arms fire from the direction of Grosslangenfeld and are also under very
heavy pressure from their front. Urgently request my 1st Bn. currently
in division reserve at Steinebrück, be released to my control
immediately. I want to send them in to the line before Cannon Company
gets whipsawed from front and rear.'
0841 CO, 14th Cav Gp: 'After a heavy arty preparation, enemy infantry
launched a determined attack on Lt. Crawford's platoon in Afst. Despite
the enemy's superior numbers and fire power, 1/C/18 inflected heavy
casualties on the enemy and forced them to withdraw. They're holding
their position, but without reinforcements, time's not on their side.'
0900 CO, 14th Cav Gp: 'Enemy is in Kobscheid and Troop A, 18th Cav is
now cutoff and unable to withdraw. Situation is critical and
0907 CO, 424th Inf.: ' I am committing Company I to counterattack and
regain the sector of Company L, 3d Bn.'
0915 S-3, 14th Cav Gp: 'All positions of Troops A and C, 18th Cav are
now totally encircled by the enemy and they -Break- Enemy has started a
general attack on the scattered positions occupied by Company A, 820th
Tank Destroyer (TD) Bn. The 820th is very vulnerable to infantry attack
and I don't have high hopes for their survival.'
0936 G-3, 106th ID to CO, 423d Inf.: 'Reference your message of 0935
hours: Permission is granted to use B/81 Eng. as infantry.'
0940 CO, 423d Inf.: 'I've just started a counterattack to retake
Bleialf. I am attacking with Service and Cannon Companies and will throw
in Company B, 81st Eng. when I can. Enemy is in town in strength and
heavy fighting, house-to-house, will be necessary kick them out.'
0945 Corps Info Message: 'Lt. Bouck's Intelligence and Reconnaissance
(I&R) Platoon of the 394th Inf. in position just northwest of Lanzerath,
is under attack by an enemy Airborne Battalion, coming out of the town.
The eighteen man I&R Platoon has driven off repeated attacks--so far.
The enemy apparently didn't know the platoon was there and just marched
up the road and were slaughtered by the I&R platoon. Lt. Bouck reports
seeing a hell of a lot of Germans attacking to the southwest, out of
Losheim. -Break- Buchholz Station, was again attacked, but after heavy
fighting the enemy withdrew.'
0950 CO, 14th Cav Gp: 'Company A, 820th TD Bn. at Berterath, Merlschied
and Lanzerath, have suffered sever losses in men and equipment. Only
three of their towed AT guns were saved and the survivors are trying to
make it back to Manderfeld. Complete details not available at this time,
but it's safe to say that A/820th is no longer a coherent fighting
1000 S-3, 423d Inf.: 'Heavy house-to-house fighting continues in
Bleialf. I've lost contact with B/18th Cav and don't know what's going
on over there.'
1002 CO, 14th Cav Gp: 'Communications with Roth and Kobscheid is almost
zero and we can only contact them on a hit or miss basis. The last
report said that both were under very heavy ground attack and enemy
troops were headed for Auw.'
1005 Lt.Col. Thomas J. Riggs, Jr. CO, 81st Eng. Bn.: 'Due to the
tactical situation, I've not been able to keep track of the activities
of my units working with the forward regiments. The information I have
is late and I can't vouch for its accuracy,
1008 CO, 14th Cav Gp: 'Troop A, 18th Cav in Roth and Kobscheid is
surrounded and cut-off. Anti-Aircraft units of the 413th AA Bn. are also
cut-off in Roth.'
1010 CO, 424th Inf.: 'Situation is all but lost in the Cannon Company
sector. The 106th ID Recon Troop has definitely been overrun and wiped
1030 CO, 423d Inf.: 'I've received a report from B/18th Cav that they're
very low on ammo and will try another resupply run, but the odds are not
good. I don't believe anything less then a full counterattack has any
hope of getting through to them. I don't want to jump the gun, but I
have my staff working on a series of what-if plans for B Troop. Troop B
won't be any use to us if they don't have ammo or if they're cut off.'
1045 CO, 424th Inf.: 'During the heavy fighting in the cannon company
area, Lt. Crawford Wheeler and his unit were engaging enemy tanks that
were about to overrun the company. Telling his men; "Well, somebody's
got to stay here and do the job. From now on the rest of you are on your
own," he picked up a Bazooka, stepped out in the open and engaged the
tanks head on. Covering his men's withdrawal, Lt. Wheeler was killed by
direct tank fire.'
1100 CO, 424th Inf.: 'Early in the fighting, Sgt. Rocco P. DeFelice of
the AT Company was knocked unconscious by a shell burst during an enemy
attack. He returned to his gun, was wounded again, but directed the
fires that destroyed two enemy tanks. Sgt. Risk, took over a gun by
himself, loading, aiming and firing and destroyed one enemy tank. Not to
be outdone by the NCOs, Pvt. G. E. Thomas, used his Bazooka to destroy
an enemy tank at point blank range. Thanks to men like these we've given
Jerry a bloody nose down south, but the Krauts aren't going away.'
1145 G-3, 106th ID, to CO, 424th Inf.: 'Effective immediately, the CG is
releasing 1st Bn. 424th Inf. from division reserve and returning them to
1200 CO, 422th Inf.: 'The 589th and the 592d FA Battalions are both
under arty and ground -Repeat- ground attack. The artillerymen are
defending their guns and holding, but obviously they can't provide much
fire support if they have to defend their firing positions from ground
1210 CG of VIII Corps (Gen. Middleton), to Gen. Jones: 'Combat Command B
(CCB), 9th Armored Division (AD), is currently at Faymonville 12 miles
north of St. Vith. They're all yours as of now and if more help is
needed, let me know.'
1216 CO, 422d Inf.: 'It's now been confirmed that after heavy fighting
against enemy infantry and Tiger tanks, A/81st Eng. evacuated Auw. Sgt.
Edward S. Withee, covered the withdrawal of A/81 and was last seen
engaging enemy tanks with his submachine gun. I will attempt to put
together a force that I can use to launch a counterattack to seize Auw.'
1222 S-3, CCB 9th AD to G-3, 106th ID: 'Reference your message of 1215
hours, the current Troop List for maneuver units is as follows; 27th
Armored Inf. Bn. (AIB); the 14th Tank Bn.; the 16th Armored Field Arty.
(AFA) Bn. (105-mm); Troop D, 89th Cavalry Recon. Squadron (plus one
platoon from Troop E and Troop F). Supporting units are; Company B, 9th
Armored Eng. Bn.; Company A, 811 Tank Destroyer Bn., Self Propelled (SP)
and Battery B, 482 AA, Automatic Weapons, Bn. (SP)'
1300 CO, 422d Inf.: 'I have formed a Task Force consisting of Company L,
Cannon Company and part of the AT Company. The Task force is attacking
now to capture Auw. Those are my last uncommitted troops. If they can't
do the job, I don't have anything else to send.'
1315 CO, 2d Bn. 423d Inf.: 'I've reached Schönberg and as ordered, my
battalion is digging in to secure the roads leading north and south from
1316 G-3, 106th ID to G-3, VIII Corps: 'Due to the tactical situation,
the 106th ID no longer has the capability to maintain physical contact
with the 99th ID, or V Corps.'
1330 CO, 422th Inf.: 'My counterattack force ran into the enemy at Auw
and are making slow progress against strong resistance. -Break- Enemy
infantry supported by Assault Guns are firing on the 589th and 592d FA
1400 CO, 14th Cav Gp; 'The following radio transmission was monitored,
between Capt. Stanley Porche, CO, Troop A, 18th Cav at Roth and Lt.
Herdrich, in Kobscheid: "We're moving back! Your friends to the south,
are moving back too. It's up to you whether you withdraw on foot or in
vehicles. I advise you to go on foot." I don't have any more details as
we have --Wait!'
1403 CO, 14th Cav Gp: 'Just received report from A/18 Cav in Roth, that
the enemy is inside the village with tanks and infantry. Troop CO's last
transmission was, "Tiger tank 75 yards from CP, belting us with direct
1432 Lt.Col. John P. Brewster, CO, 333d Corps Arty Group : 'With your
concurrence, I plan to withdraw all VIII Corps arty units to the west
side of the Our River.'
1434 Gen. McMahon, CO, 106th ID Artillery to CO, 333d Arty Gp:
'Reference your message of 1432 hours. I understand your concern, but
this division will hold! Urgently request that you not withdraw all your
assets to the west of the Our River. ..........
1437 CO, 333d Corps Arty Gp to Gen. McMahon: 'Based on your assurances,
I will leave at least one battery per battalion on the east side of the
river. As you know my units are very scattered and timely commo is
difficult. The major part of Corps artillery is out here and neither the
Corps nor your division can afford to take any more chances with their
safety. Request you keep me informed of the situation so that my units
do not run into the same problems.'
1600 Corps Info Message: 'The I&R Platoon of the 394th Inf. near
Lanzerath, has defeated repeated and determined enemy attacks on their
position. Attacking in wave after wave, initially with little arty
support, the enemy has suffered severe losses, but show no indication of
calling off their attacks. The platoon has many wounded and is nearly
out of ammo. A German called on Lt. Bouck to surrender, but one of Bouck
's men chased him away with rifle fire. Germans infiltrating under cover
of the dusk, are taking his fox holes one by one, but the platoon
continues to fight back. Lt. Bouck, wounded in the leg, has been ordered
to hold his position (and wished a happy 21st birthday). The 394th
cannot reinforce the platoon and their brave defense can't last much
1604 CO, 14th Cav Gp: 'When I asked Capt. Reppa, CO of Troop A, 32d Cav
to come back for a meeting, he said that it was impossible as the road
has been cut by the enemy and all roads, are literally packed with
withdrawing U.S. elements.'
1805 CO, 106th ID Artillery [DIVARTY] to COs of the 589th and 592th FA:
'You will -Repeat- will break contact with the enemy and begin
miles south of Schönberg and the 592d will displace to St. Vith.'
1915 CO, 2d Bn. 423d Inf.: "Enemy shelling Schönberg heavily. Cavalry
have withdrawn and are mining the road 50 yards north of Andler. Enemy
have completely taken Auw. The 275th Armored Field Artillery has also
withdrawn. Am patrolling in three directions and will have more
information at 2000. "
1930 CO, 423d Inf.: 'Situation is not the best, but we're still holding.
Denied my 2d Bn. I have no reserves and B Troop, 18th Cav is bottled up
in Winterscheid. My right flank--and maybe my left, are up in the air
and I've lost contact with 424th. Again, we are holding and we will
continue to improve our present positions.'
2000 Corps Info. Message: 'Enemy attacking 110th Inf. Regt. just east of
Clervaux. Men on Rest and Relaxation (R&R), are being organized for
defense of the town. Enemy arty is falling on Clervaux.'
2001 COs of 589th and 592d FA: 'Both commanders acknowledge previous
orders to break contact and displace as soon as possible.'
2003 CO, 14th Cav Gp: 'Just received a message from Capt. Reppa, the CO
of Troop A, 32d Cav. Everyone has withdrawn and he's in danger of being
cut off. He's not received any information on positions of the rest of
the 32d Cav. Unless he hears more from me, he plans to move to Honsfeld
(four km northwest of Lanzerath) by 2200 hours.'
2015 Corps Info Message: 'For the past several hours, we have not
received any reports from Lt. Bouck or his I&R Platoon and Air
Observation reports enemy forces now occupy his position. Believe all
are KIA, or captured. The last resistance in the Losheim Gap, has ended.
2047 CG, 106th ID to his Staff: 'I have decided to call and suggest to
the CG, VIII Corps, that I withdraw my forward regiments.'
2100 XO, CCB 7th AD to Gen. Clarke: 'We've just got a hard copy from
First Army of the movement plans for the 7th AD. The division will be
using two routes of march: an east route through Aachen, Eupen, Malmedy
2130 First Army Hqs. to Gen. Middleton the CG, VIII Corps : 'The west
column of the 7th AD will begin arrivin gatSt.Vithat0700,17Dec.
The entire division will be there by 1900 hours, 17 Dec.'
2143 CG, 106th ID Phone conversation with CG, VIII Corps: 'Maj. Spieler
overhears Gen. Jones explain the situation to Gen. Middleton and discuss
the advisability of withdrawing the forward units. The phone connection
is very poor and contact is broken several times during the
conversation. When the phone call ends, Gen. Jones says: "Well that's
it. Middleton says we should leave them."
2220 CG, VIII Corps, Phone call to CG, 106th ID: 'Realize your situation
and I am sending you the 7th Armored Division. Combat Command B of the
7th AD will be at St. Vith by 0700 hours on the 17th. The rest of the
7th AD will be there shortly after CCB gets there.'
2230 CO, 14th Cav Gp: 'The units of the 18th Cav are as per my message
of 1728 hours. Estimated enemy casualties for 16 Dec. are 600 KIA and
1,200 WIA. These figures do not include casualties caused by U.S. arty
after 1200 hours. Known friendly casualties for the 18th Cav are at
least two officers KIA, twenty enlisted men and NCOs are WIA. Twenty
officers, 134 soldiers are missing in action. The last figures include
all personnel at Roth and Kobscheid. I've not heard from them for
several hours and assume that they've been overrun.'
2240 Corps Info Message: 'Enemy has crossed the Our River in the 28th ID
sector and most U.S. units are cut-off and isolated. Clerf and Marnach
are still in friendly hands, but the situation is changing rapidly.'
2300 12th Army Group, Periodic Intelligence report, 2300 hours, 16 Dec.:
"The sudden attacks and seemingly overpowering array of six enemy
divisions . . . should not be misinterpreted. The quality of divisions
involved, the piecemeal efforts . . . and the apparent lack of
long-range objectives . . . seem to limit the enemy threat . . . the day
's events cannot be regarded as a major long-term threat."
2315 CO, 592d FA Bn.: 'The battalion is moving, except for one gun
section and several vehicles of Battery A destroyed by enemy direct
fire. The Battery Commander, Capt. Genero M. Mondragon, refused to leave
his wounded and was either killed or captured.'
2332 Intelligence Report # 6, 106th ID: "Cloudy period, drizzle tonight,
breaks in clouds at mid-day, shower late in afternoon, visibility poor
in fog, becoming three miles in mid-morning, winds South/Southwest 13
MPH, max temp 42 degrees, min temp 38 degrees."
2333 Annex # 1, to Intel. Report # 6: 'Fifty eight, enemy prisoners were
interrogated. They were members of: the 62d Volksgrenadier Div; the
116th Panzer Div; and the 18th Volksgrenadier Div.'
2334 Annex # 2, to Intel. Report # 6: Supplementary Interrogation
Report: "of CO, 2d Bn. 183d Inf. Regt., 62d VG Div., prisoner considers
the attack a failure since the losses of the Germans were extremely
heavy and most objectives were not reached."
2335 Annex # 3, to Intel. Report # 6.: Translation of Captured Document
"Soldiers of the West Front! Your great hour has arrived. Large
attacking armies have started against the Anglo-Americans. I do not have
to tell you anything more than that. You feel it yourself. We gamble
everything! You carry with you the holy obligation to give everything to
achieve things beyond human possibilities for, Our Fatherland and Our
Fuhrer! Signed, VonRunstedt, G in C West, General Field Marshall."
Intel. Report # 6, 106th ID: "The enemy can pinch off Schnee Eifel area
by employing one VG division plus armor in the 14th Cav Gp, sector and
one VG division plus armor in the 423d Inf. sector at any time."
2345 CO, 423d Inf.: 'Commo is terrible and I can only make contact with
you on a hit-or-miss basis. I don't have contact with 422 or 424. I've
used my reserves but I will continue to hold my positions until I
receive orders from you telling me differently! What is the situation of
the 28th Div on our right?'
2346 G-3, 106th ID to CO, 423d Inf.: The 28th ID is still holding.'
2350 Corps Info. Message: 'The following was announced over radio
"Our troops are again on the march. We shall present the Fuhrer with
Antwerp by Christmas."
FROM CH. 2, "DEATH IN DECEMBER"