Our PartA History of the 99th Chemical Mortar Battalion
during combat in Africa, Italy, France and Germany
Compliments of the officers of the 99th Cml Mortar Bn
Activation & training
From Italy to France
Baptism of fire
Reorganization and a new year
Colmar Canal & beyond
East of the Rhine
The narrative related here is not a flaming epic of dashing heroes, sallying forth into battle to work deeds of great renown, and carve a niche in the rock of immortality; nor is it an eloquently authored, dramatic tale, fraught with jeweled phrases, depicting the glorious achievements of noble warriors. It is the unadorned story of a battalion of men, cast together by chance from diverse walks of life, who, for months of combat, shared work, laughter, hardship, and danger, until they were molded by an infrangible bond of friendship and understanding.
The story is by no means comprehensive, as it has not endeavored to incorporate the personal experiences of every man, or to recount every gallant deed, of which there are many. Neither has it attempted to express the unusual flavor of the spontaneous humor and jocularity, so much a part of our daily life. The least amount of effort has been directed toward capturing that intangible thing called "esprit de corps", which is at once orally inexpressive, and of immeasurable importance to men whose very lives depend on one another.
It is an expression of the desire of all men to set down a record of their experiences, regardless of their political or historical consequence.
Here is mud, cold, and fatigue; here is heroism and plain courage; here are men who know danger and death, and who knew the satisfaction of a job well done. Ours was the task of supporting the "dough boy" and we are intensely proud of our accomplishments.
That we, and millions more of ordinary men like us, have not toiled, or perhaps died, to no avail is our greatest desire. We do not care to add many chapters to this, our own story. In the words of the G. I. ballad, "We don't want no more of Army life; Mom, we just wanna go home."
Activation & training
The 99th Chemical Battalion (Motorized) was activated at Piana di Caiazza, Italy, near Casserta, 5 August 1944. The battalion was activated with an assigned strength of 33 officers, 1 warrant officer, and 556 enlisted men.
Personnel assigned to the battalion were all former members of the 442nd Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, which was deactivated at Oran, Algeria, on 22 July 1944. The 442nd AAA (AW) Bn was activated at Fort Bliss, Texas, on 1 June 1942. The 442nd received training at Fort Bliss until 4 February 1943, when it departed for Camp Rucker, Alabama. The battalion remained at Camp Rucker, Alabama, receiving combined training with the 81st Infantry Division, until 31 March 1943, when it departed by motor convoy for Camp Stewart, Ga. Intensive training continued at Camp Stewart, Ga., in preparation for overseas, duty until the end of April, 1943, when the battalion moved to Camp Patrick Henry, Va., to stage for overseas shipment. The unit boarded the U.S.S. THURSTON, on 9 May 1943, and sailed on 10 May 1943. After a fourteen day voyage, the battalion landed at Mers el Kebir, Algeria, near Oran, Algeria, on 23 May 1943.
Defensive AAA (40 mm) positions were occupied in the vicinity of Mers el Kebir and Oran shortly after arrival. On 15 July 1943, approximately one-third of the personnel of the 442nd left on a prisoner of war detail which took them to England, Scotland, back to the United States, and then a return to the battalion in North Africa in the middle of October, 1943. During their absence, the battalion in addition to occupying 40 mm positions in Oran and Mers el Kebir, operated a GOR in Arzew and manned machine-gun postions in Mostaganem. In November of 1943, the 442nd moved to the vicinity of Algiers, Algeria, and occupied 40 mm positions around the Reghaia Airport to the east of Algers. In December 1943, positions were occupied around the harbor of Algiers. These positions were maintained until June 1944, when the battalion began turning in of equipment in anticipation of deactivation and shipment to Italy. The battalion moved into the staging area at Algiers early in July, 1944, and then moved to the Lion Mountain Staging Area at Oran, Algeria, where it was deactivated on 22 July 1944. During its stay in North Africa, the battalion was first assigned to the Fifth Army and attached to the 45th AAA Brigade. Upon the movement of the Fifth Army to Italy in August 1943, the battalion was assigned to Allied Force Headquarters and subsequently attached to the 25th AA Brigade (British) and then the 44th AAA Brigade. All personnel departed Oran, Algiers, North Africa, aboard the Marine Robin on 26 July 1944 and landed at Naples, Italy, 29 July 1944.
During its tour of duty in North Africa, the 442nd AAA (AW) Bn had very few targets at which to shoot. The men on the guns were always able to see German planes bombing or attempting to bomb convoys off the coast but they were always out of reach. However, on one occasion, at Algiers, they did manage to participate in one barrage when enemy planes bombing a convoy circled over the coastline and dropped a bomb in the Guyotteville Stadium west of Algiers. During this barrage, they did manage to get one direct hit on a barrage balloon, which made a beautiful sight as it floated to earth in flames.
Major Gordon A. Dixon, 0-314682, assumed command of the 99th Chemical Battalion, Motorized, upon its activation on 5 August 1944. The staff and company commanders were as follows:Major Charles J. Gottfried, 0-307613, XO
Capt. John Q. Baer, Jr., 0-1040492, S-3
Capt. Charles E. Hughes, 0-1042058, S-2
Capt. Seymour Rosenthal, 0-1045577, S-4
1st Lt. Ralph H. Willard, Jr., 0-1045974, S-1 and Hq Det CO
W/O James C. Snowden, W-2113264, personnel officer
Capt. John P. Pickett, 0-296231, CO, Co. A
Capt. William B. Lauder, 0-320261, CO, Co. B
Capt. Robert A. Hardie, 0-1043651, CO, Co. C
Capt. Carmie R. Dafoe, Jr., O-1040690, CO, Co. D
Capt. John G. Butkus, 0-1691211, surgeon and CO, Med. Det.
The 99th Chemical Battalion staged at Piana di Caiazza, Italy, drew its equipment and began training on its weapon, the 4.2" chemical mortar. The battalion was relieved from assignment to Fifth Army and assigned to Seventh Army and attached to SOS NATOUSA for supply and to NATOUSA for administration on 23 August 1944. On 28 August 1944, it was relieved from attachment to NATOUSA for administration and SOS NATOUSA for supply and attached to Fifth Army. Assignment to Seventh Army remained.
On 6 September 1944, the battalion departed Piana di Caiazza, Italy, by motor convoy en route to the Fifth Army CWS Training Area, 11 miles southeast of Follonica, Italy. Bivouac was established that evening 5 miles north of Civitavecchia, Italy. Movement was resumed the next morning, 7 September 1944, and the battalion arrived at the Fifth Army CWS Training Area, Follonica Italy, at noon.
On 9 September 1944, the battalion began a very intensive 60-day training program under the direction of Lt. Col. William S. Hutchinson, Jr., 0-341091, former commanding officer of the 83rd Chemical Battalion, assisted by 1st Lt. Alfred H. Crenshaw, O-1035006, 83rd Chemical Battalion, and 1st Lt. George H. Young, Jr., 0-463106, 2nd Chemical Battalion.
For the physical conditioning of personnel, a five-mile course was laid out for speed marches with the ultimate goal of walking, without double timing, the 5 miles in 50 minutes. In addition, four sharpshooting courses, three infiltration courses, and three fire and movement courses were constructed, all of which were run by personnel using live small arms ammunition. These courses were used not only for physical conditioning, but also for training in infantry tactics. Three obstacle courses, a rifle range, a bazooka range, a "dummy" grenade course, a live hand grenade, and a rifle grenade course were also constructed. Platoon and company firing of the 4.2" chemical mortar was conducted during the month of September. Training to work as a battalion was conducted during the month of October 1944. On 19 October 1944, a simulated phosgene shoot was held by the battalion in which 48 mortars placed 1709 rounds of WP, HE, and FS, on the small Island of Trojaccia, off the coast of Follonica, in a period of two minutes.
During the period 23-27 October 1944, the battalion conducted a rigorous field exercise in conjunction with the 100th Chemical Battalion. The two battalions alternated as 4.2" mortar battalions and infantry troops under simulated combat conditions. Mortars were carried by hand up the steep mountains in the vicinity to give support to the advancing infantry elements. Heavy rains plagued the units during the entire exercise but despite this, the morale of the troops remained high. The training period ended for the battalion on 27 October 1944. Throughout its 60-day training period, the battalion trained six days a week and the schedule was not interrupted at all for rain or inclement weather. During its 60-day training period, 9,973 rounds of 4.2" chemical mortar ammunition were expended by the battalion
From Italy to France
On 6 and 8 November 1944, the battalion moved from its training area at Follonica, Italy, to the staging area outside Leghorn, Italy, preparatory to overseas shipment to southern France to join the Seventh Army. From 8-15 November 1944, the battalion was in bivouac at the staging area loading equipment on vehicles and awaiting orders to begin loading aboard the U. S. Merchant Ship JAMES MOORE in the harbor of Leghorn, Italy. Loading finally began on the evening of 16 November and all vehicles and equipment were aboard ship by the evening of 18 November.
Personnel departed the staging area and loaded aboard the JAMES MOORE on 19 November 1944. The ship then lay at anchor in the harbor until the following morning when it weighed anchor and began the voyage to southern France. During the late afternoon it dropped anchor in the harbor of Madealene on the northwest coast of Sardinia. The ship had considerable difficulty in anchoring due to the very strong wind. It became stuck on a sandbar from which it was pulled with the aid of a tug and finally managed to secure a firm anchorage. At noon on 21 November 1944, the ship again weighed anchor and departed for Marseille, France, passing through the Straits of Bonifacia and following the west Coast of Corsica. It traveled alone except for one French Corvette as an escort. The ship arrived in the outer harbor of Marseille and dropped anchor at noon on 23 November 1944, and awaited instructions for docking. Personnel finally began unloading the evening of 24 November 1944 and by 0300 hours the following morning all personnel had arrived at Staging Area No. 2, 18 miles northwest of Marseille. All vehicles and equipment had been unloaded from the ship and were at the bivouac area by the afternoon of 25 November.
On the morning of 27 November 1944, the battalion began movement by motor convoy en route to the Seventh Army. The route for the convoy followed up the Rhone River Valley which at the time was being swept by the bitterly cold winter winds which made riding very uncomfortable. However, all the men seemed to be in high spirits. The first night, bivouac was established in French barracks at Valence, France. Being able to get into these barracks and sleeping on straw was quite unexpected and was a welcome relief after the cold day-long ride. The second night, 28 November, was spent at Dijon, France. The battalion pulled into town and was making ready to spend the night in pup tents on wet grass in a bivouac area when it was fortunate enough to locate the 12th Chemical Maintenance Depot which was gracious enough to allow all personnel to put up beds in their warehouses and thus let everyone get in under cover. The next night, 29 November, the unit closed into bivouac 15 kilometers west of Epinal, France, and established a pup tent camp for the night.
Seventh Army Headquarters, which was located at Epinal at the time, was contacted for further instructions and, on November 1944, the battalion resumed convoy for Saarburg, France, to contact the XV Corps to which the battalion had been attached for operations. By late evening, all units had closed into bivouac in the vicinity of Saarburg. The battalion command post, Hq. and Hq. Det., Med. Det., and Companies A, C, and. D, established bivouac in the small town of Hommarting and Company B established bivouac in the town of Veustholtz.
Baptism of fire
On 1 December 1944, verbal orders were received from the commanding general, XV Corps, attaching Company B to the 44th Infantry Division, Company C to the 79th Infantry Division, and Company D to the 100th Infantry Division for support. [Note: The website of 100th Inf Div Association is at www.100thww2.org] The balance of the battalion remained attached to the XV Corps. Company A was being held in reserve and was being used as an ammunition section to supply the other companies. This was in anticipation of the disbandment of Company A on orders to reorganize the battalion under a new table of organization, which provided for only three line companies.
At the time of the attachments, all of the divisions were on the offensive, moving forward to breach and secure the Maginot Line. This was the first time this unit had seen combat and it received its "baptism of fire" without any preliminary combat indoctrination. Morale was very high and the men showed determined initiative from the beginning. Company B was the first to enter the line, setting up in position at Durstel, France, on 2 December 1944. Company C had its mortars in position and ready to fire by late afternoon the same day in the town of Greis, France. Company D had mortars in position and ready to fire at 0230 hours 3 December 1944, in the towns of Zittersheim and Moderfeld, France. Company C had the distinction of capturing the battalion's first enemy prisoner of war, taking the POW in the town of Wahlenheim, France, on 2 December 1944. The POW had been hiding in a barn and was captured on information received from a French woman living in the town.
Company B moved forward with the 44th Division through the towns of Lohr, Adamswiller, Waldhambach, Butten, Hammerkapt, Rohrbach, and Petit Rederching. Company C moved forward with the 79th Division through the towns of Wahlenheim, Greis, and Kurtzenhausen, until relieved from that division on 5 December 1944 and was then attached to the 44th Infantry Division. They then advanced through the towns of Mackwiller, Butten, Diemeringen, Enchenberg, Maierhof, Petit Rederching, and Siersthal. Company D moved forward with the 100th Infantry Division through Hangwiller, Moderfeld, Zittersheim, and Wingen, until 4 December 1944, at which time it was relieved and attached to the 44th Infantry Division. It continued to move forward then through Volksburg, Rosteig, Montbronn, Enchenberg, Heilingbronn, and Siersthal.
From 1-4 December 1944, the battalion less Companies B, C, and D, was attached to XV Corps. On 4 December, the battalion, less Company D was attached to the 324th Inf. Regt, 44th Inf. Div., with Company D attached to the 114th Inf. Regt, 44th Inf. Div. On 5 December, Company B plus one platoon of Company C was attached to the 324th Inf. Regt., Company C to the 71st Inf. Regt., and Company D to the 114th Inf. Regt., all of the 44th Inf. Div. The battalion, less the other attachments, was attached to 44th Division Headquarters. On 8 December, Company C was relieved from the 71st Inf. Regt. and attached to the 114th Inf. Regt. On 10 December, Companies C and D were relieved from attachment to the 114th Inf. Regt. and went into reserve.
The first casualties suffered by the battalion occurred in Company C on 10 December in the town of Enchenberg, France. A short burst from one of the mortars injured five men and killed one man.
On 11 December 1944, a German sergeant armed with a light machine gun was attempting to enter a house occupied by the 1st platoon of Company B, in the vicinity of Petit Rederching, and was captured by PFC Charles F. Wyatt and Pvt. Francis M. Girard.
On 12 December, casualties were sustained in Company D when seven men were injured by fragments from an enemy shell in the vicinity of Lambach. One man died as a result of this shelling. Throughout the drive with the 44th Infantry Division, the 4.2" mortars were very effective in screening the infantry advances, reducing enemy strong points, and forcing the enemy to withdraw. Several direct hits were made on enemy self-propelled weapons, troop concentrations, machine-gun nests, and motor transports.
On 14 December l944, orders were received stating that the battalion was relieved from XV Corps and would move without delay to Ribeauville, France, in the Colmar Bridgehead Area, and relieve the 83rd Chemical Battalion, then attached to the 36th Infantry Division. The companies ceased operations with their respective regiments and assembled in the towns of Adamswiller, Bettwiller, and Ottwiller on 15 December. The battalion departed by motor convoy on the morning of 16 December and arrived at St. Croix Aux Mines that evening, establishing bivouac pending further instructions.
On 16 December the battalion received instructions that upon completion of the relief of the 36th Infantry Division and its attached units, on or about 15 December, the 99th Chemical Battalion would be relieved from attachment to the 36th Division and attached to the 3rd Infantry Division under operational control of the First French Army. By evening of 17 December, the battalion had relieved the 83rd Chemical Battalion, with Company B in positions in the Riquewihr area; Company C in the Selestat area; and Company D in the Ribeauville area. The 36th Infantry Division at this time was in defensive positions. By 21 December, the battalion was in support of the 3rd Infantry Division.
On 19 December, Detachment A of the 12th Chemical Maintenance Company, consisting of one officer and sixteen enlisted men, was attached to the battalion, for the purpose of maintaining and repairing the mortar equipment.
The 3rd Division remained on the defense throughout the balance of the month of December with the exception of the attack on and the seizure of Sigolsheim on 27 December. Company D assisted greatly in the taking of the town by firing of heavy smoke concentrations to screen the infantry advance. Company D also fired on enemy strong points and enemy troop concentrations. The 3rd Division ranked the battle for Sigolsheim among its toughest battles.
The weather remained at the freezing point throughout the period and the ground was heavily blanketed with snow. The mountainous terrain made operations very difficult. During the month of December 1944, the battalion fired 15,178 rounds of HE and 10, 890 rounds of WP shells. Twenty-three enlisted men were battle casualties during the month, with two of these resulting in deaths.
Reorganization and a new year
The battalion started the New Year operating under a new table of organization, having reorganized effective at midnight, 31 December 1944. The former Company A was dissolved with the personnel being transferred to other companies with the battalion, and the former Company D was redesignated as Company "A." Headquarters Detachment was redesignated as Headquarters Company.
On 1 January 1945, the battalion forward command post was located at Ribeauville, France, and the Battalion Rear at Ste Croix Aux Mines. On 6 January, the 3rd platoon of Company C received such heavy shelling that it was forced to evacuate its positions at Orbey, France, and move back to new positions. No serious casualties were suffered. On 8 January, the battalion forward command post moved from Ribeauville to Lapoutroie, and on 11 January moved from there to Ste Croix Aux Mines, since the 3rd Division had gone into a purely defensive deployment and had established a defense of great depth. Company A was working with the 254th Inf. Regt., 63rd Inf. Div., which was attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. On 16 January, Company "C," less two platoons was attached to the 290th Engineer Combat Battalion, which was also supporting the 3rd Infantry Division. During the period 1-22 January, the 3rd Division was deployed in defensive positions on the northern perimeter of the "Colmar Pocket" on a line from the vicinity just west of Orbey to Kayserberg, Ostheim, and Guemar. The companies of the 99th Chemical Mortar Battalion supported the division and attached units, firing on enemy patrols, known enemy positions, tanks, machine-gun nests, motor transports, and enemy troop concentrations.
On 19 January 1945, the field order from the 3rd Infantry Division was received, outlining the plan for the attack to eliminate the ALSACE Bridgehead (Colmar Pocket) by converging on the old fortress of Neuf-Brisach. Company A was to support the 15th Inf. Regt. with one platoon supporting the 254th Inf. Regt. Company B was to support the 30th Inf. Regt., and Company C the 7th Infantry Regiment.
The 3rd Infantry Division began its attack at 2130 hours 22 January, proceeding by stealth and the mortars of the 99th did very little firing the first night and the following day. However, during the early hours of the night of 23 January, the 3rd Division, after successfully crossing the L'Ill River, met a strong German counterattack and was thrown back across the river. Our forward observers and their radio operators were forced to swim the river to safety. During the night, the mortars supplied defensive fires for the infantry. During the day of 23 January, Company C placed harassing fire on the town of Houssen and fired on enemy armor at the Chateau De Schoppenwihr, which the 7th Inf. Regt. was attacking.
During the day of 24 January, Company B maintained a smoke screen on the east side of the L'Ill River to enable the engineers to install bridges for use of armor in order to enable the 3rd Division to resume its attack across the river. Company C, on the same day, fired on enemy vehicles in the town of Rosenkranz and on enemy tanks in the town of Houssen. This firing was in support of the 7th Inf. Regt. During the day Chateau De Schoppenwihr fell to foot troops and Company C laid a smoke corridor to enable the 7th Inf. Regt. to move heavy vehicles across open terrain and into the chateau. The mission was very successful and the vehicles loaded with personnel and supplies moved in without being fired upon.
On 26 January, Company A placed white phosphorus on the town of Holtzwihr. The mission was fired under enemy shelling from mortars and tanks. The 1st platoon was finally forced to move back due to enemy automatic weapons fire coming from in front of their positions. During an enemy counterattack, 2nd Lt. Harry R. Freyer, Company A, assisted in repelling an enemy counterattack by organizing a small group of scattered infantrymen and moving them forward with two other small groups of men organized by the 15th Inf. Regimental Commander. During this same counterattack, one platoon of Company B had to move back due to enemy shelling. Company C provided fire for the 7th Inf. Regt. advance into and through Houssen. On 28 January, Company A fired on enemy troops in the town of Bischwihr and Company B fired on enemy troops and tanks west of Bischwihr and troop concentrations between the Colmar Canal and Bischwihr.
Colmar Canal & beyond
On the night of 29 January, all companies laid smoke screens to cover the 3rd Division's crossing of the Colmar Canal and placed harassing fire on the towns of Wihr en Plaine, Bischwihr, Fortschwihr, and Muntzenheim. The smoke mission was very successful and the division said it was the most successful river crossing they had ever made. Company A scored a direct hit on an enemy ammunition dump in the town of Muntzenheim. On 30 and 31 January the companies supported the advance of the division on Horbourg, towards Andolsheim, and Urschenheim. Smoke screens were laid to cover the advance of the infantry across open terrain. On the night of 30 January, Company B was relieved from the 3rd Division and attached to the 75th Infantry Division, which was attacking Andolsheim to the right of the 3rd Division.
During the first few days of the attack by the 3rd Division, the three companies, A, B, & C, lived in the open, sleeping in dugouts and foxholes in the woods, due to the unavailability of other shelter. In spite of the fact that during this time it was snowing and was bitterly cold and damp, the health of the men did not drop to any great extent. There were no reports of frostbite or trenchfoot. The morale was extremely high throughout the drive. Sixteen men and officers received battle wounds during the month of January 1945, but there were no deaths. The companies fired 17,156 rounds of high explosive and 13,974 rounds of white phosphorous 4.2" mortar ammunition during the month of January 1945. The extremely cold weather caused very heavy breakage of mortar equipment but the untiring efforts of Det. A, 12th Chemical Maintenance Company, enabled the battalion to give vital support at all times.
At the beginning of February 1945, the battalion, less Company B, was giving direct support to units of the 3rd Infantry Division which was still driving forward on the Rhine plain to the east of the city of Colmar, France. The division had reached and crossed the Colmar Canal and had cleared the towns of Jebsheim, Horbourg, Widensolen, and Durrenentzen, and was attacking east from Urschenheim to clear the woods and secure a bridge across the Rhone-Rhine Canal in the vicinity of Kunheim. Company B was attached to the 75th Infantry Division, on the right of the 3rd Infantry Division. The 75th Division was attacking to the south from the vicinity of Bischwihr in the direction of Appenwihr. On 1 February 1945, the battalion forward CP moved from Ribeauville to Holtzwihr. On 2 February, Company C supported the 7th Infantry Regiment in its capture of Kunheim and Baltzenheim and placed interdictory fire on Biesheim. On 4 February, the battalion forward CP moved from Holtzwihr to Muntzenheim and the battalion rear moved from Ste Croix aux Mines to Walbourg. The 3rd Division was attacking south from the Foret Domaniale De Colmar Est towards Volgelsheim and Neuf-Brisach. On 5 February, Company A smoked the east bank of the Rhine all day to screen advancing friendly troops from enemy observation. Company B supported the 75th Division in its capture of Wolfgantzen. By the close of the day of 6 February, the 3rd Division had liberated the towns of Neuf-Brisach, Volgelgrun, Volgelsheim; Algolsheim, and Fort Mortier. The 75th Division had captured Weckolsheim and was moving south and east to the Rhine River.
From 8 February to 14 February, the battalion supported the 3rd Infantry Division in defense positions along the west bank of the Rhine, laying smoke screens to prevent enemy observation and fired on barges and boats in the Rhine River and placed interdictory fire on the enemy town of Vieux-Brisach on the east bank of the Rhine.
On 14 February, all companies were withdrawn from support of the 3rd Infantry Division and assembled in preparation for movement by motor convoy. On the morning of 15 February, the battalion began movement to St. Avold, France (northwest of Saarburg). Upon arrival that evening, the battalion was attached to XV Corps, with Company A being attached to the 63rd Infantry Division and Hq&Hq Company, Medical Detachment, and Companies B and C attached to the 70th Infantry Division. [See the website of the 70th Inf Div Association for extensive information on this division that one or more companies of the 99th CMB supported during the period 15 Feb to 21 Mar 1945.]
The 70th Infantry Division at this time was holding defensive positions along a line running generally from Morsbach, Gaubiving, Bousbach, along the north edge of Bois de Grossblitterstroff, to a point on the Saar River opposite Rilchingen, thence south along the Saar to Welferding. The 63rd Infantry Division was holding defensive positions along the Saar River on the right flank of the 70th Division, on a line running through Saareguemines then north along the Saar to Bliesbruck, and thence southeast along the north edge of Bois (Forest) de Bliesbrucken. On the morning of 17 February, the battalion was supporting the two divisions in their attack to the north. For the balance of the month, both divisions were alternately on the offensive and defense. At the close of the month they were consolidating their gains and improving their defensive positions. The 70th Division had driven north through Oeting, half of Forbach, Behren les Forbach, Kerbach, Etzling, Spicheren, Lixing, Grossblitterstroff, Zingzing, Alsting, and held the high ground in the forest of St. Arnual.
The 63rd Division had cleared Kleinblittersdorf, Auersmacher, Bubingen, and held the north edge of the Hinterwald Woods. Upon first joining the 70th Division, the battalion CP was located in the town of Leyviller, as was also the Medical Detachment. Company A moved into the town of Saareguemines, Company B in Bousbach and Gaubiving; and Company C in Gaubiving, Rouhling, and Morsbach. On 21 February, the battalion headquarters and Medical Detachment moved to the town of Hundling.
The battalion had been officially relieved from attachment to the 3rd Infantry Division on 12 February and was also relieved from operational control of the XXI Corps and the First French Army the same day, and attached to XV Corps. On 28 February, the battalion was relieved from attachment to XV Corps and attached to XXI Corps.
During the month of February 1945, nineteen officers and enlisted men were battle casualties, with one of these resulting in death. The battalion fired 9,224 rounds of HE and 13,423 rounds of WP during the month.
At the beginning of the month of March 1945, the battalion less Company A was attached to and giving general support to the 70th Infantry Division, which was holding a defensive line from Forbach, France, to the Saar River just above Sarreguemines. Company A was attached to the 63rd Infantry Division and giving general support to the 253rd Infantry Regiment. The 63rd Infantry Division was holding defensive positions in the pocket north of Sarreguemines formed by the bend of the Saar River. The line ran from Bubingen, Germany, through the north edge of Hinterwald Woods and extended diagonally southeast to the Saar River, east of Sarreguemines.
During the period 1-8 March, the battalion continued to give defensive support to the 63rd and 70th Infantry Divisions. On 8 March Company A was relieved from the 63rd Division and attached to CCA of the 12th Armored Division which had been attached to the 70th Division. However, Company A was relieved from this attachment on 9 March and reverted to the 63rd Division. On 10 March, Company B was relieved from attachment to the 70th Division and attached to the 101st Calvary Group which was holding defensive positions to the left of the 70th Infantry Division, four to five kilometers northwest of Forbach. The 70th Division continued on the defensive until 13 March when the enemy suddenly began a rapid withdrawal from south of the Saar River. The withdrawal was so rapid that Company C, supporting the 70th Division, could give only limited support. On 15 March, the 63rd Division, being supported by Company A, began a drive to the north to uncover the Siegfried Line defenses. On 17 March, Hq&Hq Company, was relieved from the 70th Division and attached to the 63rd Division. Company B was relieved from the 101st Calvary Group and attached to the 63rd Division, leaving only Company C with the 70th Division.
On 18 March, the 63rd Division began a frontal assault on the Siegfried Line in conjunction with an attack started by the entire Seventh Army. Company A and B, laid and maintained continuous smoke screens from noon until dark to shield friendly troops from enemy observation and fire. The two companies expended 2360 rounds of WP shells to maintain the screen. Company C, supporting the 70th Division which was probing for river crossings, fired interdicting and harassing fire during the day. On 18 March, Companies A and B maintained smoke screens from dawn to dusk in support of the 63rd Division attack on the Siegfried Line. Company C also laid a smoke screen to cover the Saar River crossing by the 70th Division. The three companies during the day expended a total of 6,235 rounds of 4.2" WP shells to maintain the screen. Company A on the 20th of March again maintained a smoke screen throughout the morning, expending 1,438 rounds of WP.
On 21 March 1945, the XXI Corps to which the battalion was attached, had been pinched out by the 3rd Army on the left and the XV Corps on its right. It was at this time that the entire German defenses in front of the Seventh Army had reached a state of complete collapse. On 22 March, the battalion was attached to the 100th Infantry Division, which was on the offensive to the north of Bitche, France. However, the 100th Division, along with the rest of the Seventh Army front, was advancing so rapidly that no elements of the battalion were able to do more than convoy along in an attempt to be present if needed. The battalion convoyed from Sarreguemines to Bitche, France, thence along a route following through Schweyen, Germany, Zweibrucken, Thalmischweiler, Waldfischbach, Speyerbrunn, Waldeingen, Frankenstein, Bad-Durkheim, and Friedelsheim.
On 25 March, the battalion was relieved from attachment to the 100th Infantry Division and reverted to XXI Corps reserve. All elements of the battalion went into assembly in the vicinity north of Neustadt, Germany. At this time a program of renovation, rehabilitation, and training was instituted, which continued until 29 March. This was the first time that all elements of the battalion had gone into rest since commitment to battle on 2 December, after 113 continuous days of combat.
East of the Rhine
On 27 March, the battalion was attached to the 4th Infantry Division. During the night of 29-30 March, after a four day rest, the battalion crossed the Rhine River at Worms, Germany, with the 4th Infantry Division. Until the close of the month the battalion followed along with the 4th Division in its rapid drive to the east. The division was meeting only scattered pockets of resistance and did not find it necessary to call upon the battalion for any fire. The companies, however, were attached to assault battalions and were always in a position to quickly go into position for support if the situation warranted it. At the close of the month of March 1945, elements of the battalion were with the 4th Division in the towns of Dienstadt, Schneeburg, Tauberbischofsheim, Olfen, Kailbach, and Ebersbach.
Seven enlisted men were battle casualties during the month of March 1945, with one resulting in death. 11,887 rounds of HE and 14,709 rounds of WP, 4.2" mortar ammunition, were fired during the month.
At the beginning of the: month of April 1945, the battalion was driving east from the Rhine River with the 4th Infantry Division towards Nurnberg, the cradle of the Nazi Party. The battalion command post was located at Beerfelden, Germany. Infantry elements had been motorized and were advancing against very slight opposition, moving forward as much as 30 miles in a single day. The mortar companies of the battalion were following close behind the infantry assault battalions, keeping in very close touch to give immediate support if necessary.
On 3 April, the battalion less Company C moved approximately 15 miles to the north to the support of the 42nd Infantry Division, which was driving toward the city of Wurzburg, Germany.
The battalion supported the 42nd Division in the capture of Wurzburg, and then advanced northward with the division to seize Schweinfurt, the hub of Germany's great ball bearing industry. The advance was rapid until reaching the outskirts of the city, where the Germans were making a vigorous attempt to prevent the capture of the city. After overrunning the enemy lines which were heavily supported by 88mm guns, the city fell on 11 April. The 42nd Division, then, in a sudden change of direction, turned around and dashed 15 miles due south, taking positions astride the Wurzburg-Nurnberg Road, in preparation for the attack on the city of Nurnberg. Our 4.2" mortars continued to follow close behind the 42nd Division's continual advance toward Nurnberg. Resistance was so light, and the situation so fluid, that our platoons on several occasions found themselves ahead of the infantry. Lt. Helm's platoon of Company A was told to join an assault battalion in a small town. Upon arrival, the platoon found no infantry elements in the town and the platoon commander was quite surprised to find that he had taken a short cut and arrived at the rendezvous point an hour ahead of the infantry. Fortunately the Germans had earlier evacuated the town.
In another instance, after the capture of Wurzburg, the first platoon of Company A was making a night advance with the infantry and found it necessary to deploy as infantrymen and set up their machine guns for their own protection. During this night, 5-6 April, the platoon captured 17 Germans, including a captain. A civilian attempting to lead a group of enemy into the platoon positions was killed when our men opened fire with machine-guns on the enemy group which was approaching in the darkness.
Company C followed with the advance of the 4th Infantry Division which was moving eastward on the right flank of the 42nd Division. On 11 April the company greatly assisted two companies of Krauts who were intent on dying for their Fuehrer. The company registered their mortars on a road leading out from a large wooded area filled with enemy troops. When the friendly infantry elements began advancing on the opposite side of the wooded area, the Germans began making a hasty withdrawal. The German troops were apparently very young and inexperienced as two companies left the woods and began their retreat in a very parade-like formation. Our already zeroed-in mortars literally plastered the road, scoring many direct hits on the column, almost completely destroying the entire group. Later 64 bodies were found after the hill had been taken. However, the Germans held the hill for a full night after the firing and had ample time to evacuate the scores that most certainly must have been wounded and possibly even evacuated some of the dead. The 4.2's were the first weapons to fire on the group and artillery did not fire on the area until quite some time after the 4.2" TOT. This was due to the fact that our mortars already had a prearranged concentration for the area.
It was during this period, on 2 April 1945, that Technician 5th Grade Clarence E. Dixon, Company C, while driving a 1&1/2-ton truck loaded with ammunition, through heavy traffic in Kutzbrunn, Germany, unwittingly drove into the enemy-held town of Messelhausen. Upon seeing the enemy, he drove on to the main intersection of town, whipped his truck around and got to the outer edge before being stopped by enemy small arms fire. He and PFC William R. Batte, his assistant, then began firing on the enemy and pinned them down long enough to permit him to drive on out of the town and return safely to his platoon. During the encounter, a "panzerfaust" struck the fender of the truck, but luckily enough, it failed to explode. Even though the radiator of the truck and their sleeping rolls were riddled with bullet holes, both miraculously escaped serious injury.
The battalion continued with the advance towards Nurnberg, with the 42nd Division, which reached and was fighting for the city of Furth on 18 April. That evening orders were received from XXI Corps that the battalion was relieved from attachment to the 42nd Division. Plans were made for the companies to assemble immediately and start convoy movement the following morning. However, at 0800 hours on the 19th of April, the 42nd Division informed the battalion that it had received permission to hold the battalion until the capture of Furth. Companies A and B were then turned around and reported back to their respective regiments and continued to give support throughout the day. Company C, however, reported to the 63rd Division as scheduled.
On 20 April, the battalion less Co. C made a 60-mile dash to the southeast to join the 63rd Infantry Division in the vicinity of Langenburg, Germany, and were in position by that evening to give support if necessary. The battalion was placed under control of the division artillery. The 63rd Division was moving almost due south in its zone to reach and secure crossings over the Danube River in the vicinity of Gunzburg, Germany. The advance continued very rapidly even though movements were hampered by numerous roadblocks, mines, and blown bridges. Even during the rapid movement, the 42"' mortars followed closely behind the infantry elements which were motorized and were being leap-frogged forward. Defended road blocks were fired upon and enemy resistance reduced or forced to withdraw. Probably the greatest single advance was made on 25 April when the 63rd Division advanced approximately 30 miles to the south and seized bridgeheads across the Danube River. Company C screened the infantry crossing, firing 816 rounds of WP, with very good effect.
At noon on 25 April, the battalion received orders that Company B was relieved from attachment to the 63rd Division and would immediately report to the 3rd Infantry Division which was operating on the left flank of the 63rd Division, to the north of Augsburg, Germany. Company B at the time was far forward, moving with the 63rd and could not be reached until 2030 hours at which time it immediately proceeded to withdraw and after an all night convoy move under black-out, contacted the 3rd Infantry Division which was preparing to assault Augsburg. The city of Augsburg fell to the 3rd Division on 28 April 1945.
On 27 April 1945, the 36th Infantry Division began relieving the 63rd Division in place and the battalion was relieved from the 63rd Division and attached to the 36th Division. At the close of the month the battalion forward command post had moved to Weilheim, Germany, as had Company A. Company B on the last day of the month had been relieved from attachment to the 3rd Infantry Division and attached to the 4th Infantry Division and had moved forward to Wolfratshausen. Company C had elements in Unter-Meitingen, Penzberg, and Seeshaupt. These positions placed the battalion deep in the heart of Germany, in sight of the Bavarian Alps.
The morale of the men continued high, in spite of the almost ceaseless moving. Meals were often postponed and night moves were not infrequent. Convoys were occasionally strafed by single enemy aircraft but no casualties or damages were sustained. One factor contributing greatly to the morale of the unit was the fact that they were part of a great offensive Army, the American Seventh, which was moving relentlessly forward against the enemy. They were biting deep into the very cradle of Nazidom, giving the disorganized, retreating, enemy no rest and denying him the opportunity to establish any last line of defense for a "National Redoubt" in the Bavarian Alps. The men could see that the collapse of the enemy was imminent and final victory was in sight.
Eight enlisted men were battle casualties during the month of April, with one of these resulting in death. During the month, 3,115 rounds of HE and 3,342 rounds of WP were fired.
The first day of May 1945 found the battalion, less Company B, attached to the 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, with the assignment of aiding that regiment in security missions, mopping up, and patrol activities to the division rear. The battalion headquarters was located in Weilheim, Germany; Company A in Seeshausen; and Company C in Pflugdorf. Company B was following in the advance of and giving support to the 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Inf. Division. The battalion, less Company "B," continued working with the 143rd Inf. Regt. on security missions guarding vital installations and assisting in policing of the Weilheim area through 5 May 1945. At the close of 5 May, the battalion was notified of its release from attachment to the 36th Division and attached to the 34th AAA Brigade for security missions in the Bad Tolz-Tegern See-Schliersee Area. The battalion command post moved to Gmund, Germany to be centrally located.
Company B continued to support the 4th Infantry Division until the afternoon of 3 May 1945. During this period it had moved forward from Wulferdtshausen to Riedern, and to Miesbach. On 3 May, Company B was attached to the 506th Paratroop Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. The Company followed the rapid advance of the regiment through Sulzbach to Berchtesgaden. Berchtesgaden was reached on 6 May 1945 and Company B went into assembly upon receipt of the "cease fire" order given to all Seventh Army units, due to the surrender of the German Army Group "G" opposite the Seventh Army front. Company B returned to battalion control on the morning of 8 May 1945.
The battalion continued on security missions under control of the 34th AAA Brigade until 16 May 1945, searching towns and woods, collecting and controlling released Russians, Czechs, Poles, and other nationals, and maintaining order, when it was relieved from attachment to the brigade and reverted to XXI Corps Control. On 17 May the battalion moved from the vicinity of Gmund to Nussloch, Germany. The route of march was Holzkerchen, Munich, Augsburg, Donauworth, Nordlingen, Ellwangen, Schwabisch Hall, Lowenstein, Heilbronn, Heidelberg, and Nussloch. The battalion remained in assembly at Nussloch for the balance of the month. On 31 May, orders were received from Seventh Army placing the battalion on a 72-hour alert status preparatory to indirect redeployment.
There were no battle casualties during the month of May I945. Only 62 rounds of HE and 42 rounds of WP were fired by the battalion during the month. This brought the total number of rounds expended by the battalion during its commitment to combat from 2 December 1944 to 6 May 1945 to 56,622 rounds of HE, and 56,380 rounds of WP, or a grand total of 113,002 rounds.
At the end of hostilities on 6 May 1945, the battalion had spent 150 days in active combat. On 8 June 1945, the battalion was relieved from attachment to XXI Corps and attached to VI Corps. On 9 June, orders were received which stated that the battalion had been relieved from assignment to 6th Army Group and attached to 12th Army Group effective 15 May 1945. The assignment to Seventh Army, however, remained in effect.
On 14 June, Headquarters & Headquarters Co. Medical Detachment, and Company A less 1 platoon departed Nussloch, Germany by motor. The one platoon of Company A and Companies B and C departed by rail, entraining at Heidelberg, Germany. The battalion was proceeding to St. Valery en Caux, France, to "Lucky Strike" staging area. Upon departure from Nussloch, the battalion passed from Seventh Army and VI Corps control to the Le Havre Port of Embarkation.
The route of march was Nussloch, Heidelberg, Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Kaiserslautern, Saarbrucken, Forbach, Metz, Verdun, Schalons, Rheims, Soissons, Compiegne, Beauvis, Gourney, Yerville, to St. Valery en Caux, France, and Camp Lucky Strike. The first night, 14 June 1945, bivouac was made at Metz, France, in a group of French barracks, which had been taken over by the Transportation Corps. Convoy was resumed the next morning, 15 June, and a pup tent bivouac was established at Soissons, France that evening. Convoy was again resumed on the morning of 16 June and Camp Lucky Strike at St. Valery en Caux was reached late in the afternoon. The bullk of organizational equipment had been turned in prior to departure from Nussloch, Germany. The period 16-28 June was spent at Camp Lucky Strike preparing personnel, equipment, and records for overseas movement to the United States.
Early on the Morning of 29 June 1945, the battalion departed Camp Lucky Strike for the Port of Le Havre, France, to load aboard the USS Wakefield. All personnel were aboard ship by noon and the ship lay at anchor in the harbor for the balance of the day and night. The USS Wakefield weighed anchor at 0530 hours on the morning of 30 June 1945 and sailed for Boston, Massachusetts.
The USS Wakefield reached Boston in the late afternoon of 6 July 1945 and all personnel had arrived at Camp Myles Standish, outside of Boston, by 1930 hours and immediately began processing for movement to their respective reception stations for 30-day leaves and furloughs. All personnel had cleared Camp Myles Standish by the evening of 7 July 1945.
On 11 August 1945, personnel began arriving at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas, and the battalion had the bulk of its personnel assembled on 26 August 1945. Redeployment training was begun in anticipation of further service overseas. However, all persons with adjusted service rating scores of 80 points or more were assured of quick discharge from the service. All men with adjusted service rating scores of 45 points or more were assured that they would not be shipped overseas.
Redeployment training for the battalion began 27 August 1945. Shortly after assembly at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas, the battalion received the good news that it had been awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its part in the Colmar Campaign with the 3rd Infantry Division during the period 22 January 1945 to 6 February 1945. This citation was awarded per paragraph 2, Section XIII, War Department General Orders No. 44, dated 6 June 1945.
The 99th Chemical Mortar Battalion, as we knew it, is no longer existent. The battalion still remains, but the personnel are rapidly being transferred to other units and larger numbers are being discharged. Few will have to see overseas service again and some few have elected to remain and make the army their career. It is now realized how great the bonds of friendship have become. We are proud to have been a part of this Battalion, to have helped it to attain the greatest record of service and achievement it made. The former members of this organization will always remember those who were their buddies during their tour of duty in Africa, Italy, France, and Germany.
Thus ends our narrative, climaxed by the close of the triumphant struggle for freedom and justice.
We do not dwell in the past that is written here, but we shall never forget it. Remembering our former comrades from whom was exacted the ultimate sacrifice, we repeat the words of General Eisenhower "No monument of stone, no memorial of whatever magnitude could so well express our respect and veneration for their sacrifice as would perpetuation of the spirit of comradeship in which they died." To what better end could we dedicate ourselves?
We expect and ask no reward for our sincere efforts to perform our tasks well. Our greatest tribute was in the eyes of the infantrymen we supported; our most treasured recompense came from the lips of the dough boys who gratefully said, "Thanks, fellas".
As we pass on to new and perhaps greater tasks, it is with a prayer in our hearts: May the total peace that must inevitably come be God-inspired and destined to reign for all Eternity.
Assignments & attachments
The battalion was awarded battle participation credit for the following campaigns:
ROME-ARNO Campaign: Ltr., MTOUSA, 10 Nov 1944, Subj: "Battle Participation Awards", file AG 200.6/040 P-O, par 11 a & b.
RHINELAND Campaign: Ltr., Hq, United States Forces, European Theater, 1 July 1945, subj: "Battle Participation Awards Rhineland Campaign (No. 2)", file AG 200.6 Op GA.
CENTRAL EUROPE Campaign: Ltr., Hq, ETOUSA, 25 June 1945, Subj: "Battle Participation Awards Central Europe Campaign (No. 2)", file AG 200.6 Op GA.
Individual awardsPurple Heart
Avdoshenko, Paul, Tec 5
Batte, William R., PFC
Bell, Howard A., Sgt.
Boland, Michael W. Pvt.
Brack, James M., 1st Lt.
Browning, John C., PFC
Butler. James H., Sgt.
Byers, Joseph C., PFC
Cardenas, Pedro P., PFC
Christensen, Harland C., Tec. 5
Cooper, James E., Tec. 5
Cox, Claude E., PFC
Drew, Alfred, Jr., Tec. 5
Eggan, Kenneth E., PFC
Fluno, Wilbur A., PFC
Furgal, Stanley F., Pvt.
Gauthier, Gerard J., PFC
Goodroe, Laurance W., Cpl.
Gorka, Leonard W., Pvt.
Higgins, Cecil E., 2nd Lt.
Hill, Howard R., PFC
Hitt, Steve E., Pvt.
Holder, Clarence J., Cpl.
Houston, Elbert, Tec. 5
Ice, Lloyd E., PFC
Jeldness, Jerrold A., PFC
Johnson. Norman V., Pvt.
Jones, Carl R., Pvt.
Jones, William G., PFC
Kotowski, Walter J., Sgt.
Kuhn, Alfred, Sgt.
Lang, Franklin W., Pvt.
Layne, Carl L., PFC
Leach, William R., Sgt.
Lemmon, Byron D., Cpl.
Lingenfelter, Edward G., PFC
Lloyd, David J., 1st Lt.
Malloy, Eugene L., PFC
Martin, Rupert W., PFC
Miksch, John, S/Sgt.
Morehead, Basil K., PFC
Mrnak Adolph F., Cpl.
Newell, Billy D., PFC
Nickerson. Hubert P., Sgt.
Noonan, James C., PFC
Pastre, Russell, Cpl.
Patching, James E., 1st Lt.
Paul, Walter P., 1st Lt.
Pepperel, Edward J., S/Sgt.
Perry, Vernon K., PFC
Raymond David H., PFC
Robbins, John M., III, 1st Lt.
Rodriguez, Eulalio, PFC
Rosekrans, Arthur L., Pvt.
Rubino, Sebastian, Pvt.
Scheffer, Edward, PFC
Schneider. Arlon C., PFC
Shopper, Joseph W., Tec. 5.
Shorter, Ira T., PFC
Shults, Calvin W., Sgt.
Sinclair. Albert W., PFC
Skiles Floyd B., Cpl.
Smith Frank C., Sgt.
Starling, Joe, PFC
Summersgill, Steven J., Cpl.
Visnic, Samuel, Pvt.
Waddell, Glenn H., PFC
Wallberg, David K., Cpl.
Welch, Guy W., Pvt.
Wood, Francis C., Cpl.
Zrelak, Steve, Pvt.
- - - - - - - - - - -
Oaf Leaf Cluster to the Purple HeartLang, Franklin M., Pvt.
Lemmon, Byron D., Cpl.
Mrnak, Adolph F., Cpl.
Paul, Walter P., 1st Lt.
Silver Star MedalBerkebile, Vernon, PFC
Lloyd, David J., 1st Lt.
Paul, Walter P., 2nd Lt.
Perry, Vernon K., PFC
Soldier's MedalFrancis, Carl B., Pvt.
Gronn, LeRoy F., PFC
Haugen, Palmer, Cpl.
Jiminez, Alfonso, PFC
Miksch, John, S/Sgt.
Stubblefield, Charles E., PFC
Bronze Star Medal
Anderson, Francis S., PFC
Anderson, James E., Sgt.
Anderson, James C., Pvt.
Arbaugh, Jennings B., Tec. 5
Avdoshenko, Paul, Tec. 5
Baer, John Q., Major
Baker, Glen D., Tec. 5
Batte, William R., PFC
Bertano, John, M/Sgt.
Blasdell, William H., Tec 5
Boatright, Arlie, Jr., Sgt.
Brazeal, Tracy L., PFC
Brennen, Robert J., PFC
Bryant, Thomas J., S/Sgt.
Cagle, John E., Tec. 4
Collins, Lloyd H., Tec. 5
Cooper, James E., Tec. 5
Dafoe, Carmie R., Jr., Capt.
Davis, Vernon, Cpl.
Denson Joseph E., PFC
DiRe, Eugene R., PFC
Dixon, Clarence E., Tec. 5
Dobler, Hugo J., Jr., Tec. 5
Doolin, Arville A., Cpl.
Drew, Alfred, Cpl.
Endicott. George R., 1st Lt.
Enslow, Leon R., Tec. 5
Esposito, Nicholas G., Pvt.
Fennell, David W., PFC
Fisher, Ralph E., Pvt.
Fisher, William J., Sgt.
Formella, Leo A., Cpl.
Franklin, Olan L., Tec. 5
Fraychineaud, Virgil, Sgt.
French, Eugene O., Cpl.
Freyer, Harry R., 1st Lt.
Geigenmiller, Dave L., S/Sgt.
Grams, Earl E., PFC
Greenberg, Isadore, Tec. 5
Hall, Robert C., Tec. 5
Ham, Christopher V., PFC
Heintz, Clyde S., S/Sgt.
Helm, Robert R., 1st Lt.
Hessler, Charles D., PFC
Hildebrand, Kenneth W., Cpl.
Hildebrandt, Richard L., PFC
Hill, Howard R., PFC
Hitt, Steve E., Pvt.
Hughes, Charles E., Capt.
Jeldness. Jerrold O., PFC
Jurich, Nick, S/Sgt.
Kirchen, Hubert W., Cpl.
Kisor, Gaylord V., S/Sgt.
Lauder, William B., Capt.
Layne, Carl L., PFC
Lemmon, Byron D., Cpl.
Lewis, William B., PFC
Lindenbaum, Leo, PFC
Lingenfelter, Edward, PFC
Lundquist, Warren W., S/Sgt.
Malloy, Eugene L., PFC (posthumous)
McCann, Wilbur S., Cpl.
Mead, Wilbur G., PFC
Miksch, John, S/Sgt.
Mittelstaedt, Ervin E., Sgt.
Morath, Grover L., Tec. 5
Nehls, Leland L., Tec. 5
Nelson, Evert E., Sgt.
Nickerson, Hubert P., S/Sgt.
Noonan, James C., PFC
Ortega, Justo, PFC
Pegg, James A., Tec. 5
Pepperel, Edward J., S/Sgt.
Perry, Vernon K., PFC
Poole, Frank R., Capt.
Powell, Jack, PFC
Raymond. Davld H., PFC
Reed, John A., Sgt.
Richards, John J., Cpl.
Richmond, Wallace A., PFC
Rine, Kenneth D., PFC
Rosenthal, Seymour, Capt.
Rudder, John W., Tec. 4
Russello, Joseph, PFC
Sadek, Robert W., Sr., 1st Lt.
Schmidt, Herman J., Sgt.
Shales, Richard, Cpl.
Shimer, Frank W., 1st Lt.
Skiles, Floyd B., Cpl.
Spatola, John A., Pvt.
Sovereen, Calvin J., PFC
Steinkamp, Leonard G., PFC
Stephens, Bernard F., 1st Lt.
Swedhin, Harvey H., Tec. 5
Tate, Perry D., PFC
Taschereau, George G., PFC
Taylor, Paul F., S/Sgt.
Thomas, Harrv D., 1st Lt.
Tyc, John S., PFC
Visnic, Samuel, PFC
Waddell, Glen H., PFC (posthumous)
Ware, Arthur C., PFC
Wells, Emmett, S/Sgt.
Wells, Robert E., Tec. 5
Wimberly, Edgar T., Jr., 1st Lt.
Wood, Clyde S., S/Sgt.
Battalion assignments & attachmentsCorps, Army & higher
AFHQ, 5 Aug 44 - 23 Aug 44, assigned
NATOUSA, 23 Aug 44 - 28 Aug 44, attached
ETOUSA, 23 Aug 44 - 29 June 45, assigned
Sixth Army Group, 23 Aug 44 - 15 May 45, assigned
Twelfth Army Group, 15 May 45 - 14 June 45, assigned
FIFTH ARMY, 5 Aug 44 - 23 Aug 44, assigned; 28 Aug 44 - 19 Nov 44, attached
SEVENTH ARMY, 23 Aug 44 - 4 June 45, assigned
FIRST FRENCH ARMY, 15 Dec 44 - 2 Feb 45, attached
XV CORPS, 30 Nov 44 - 14 Dec 44, attached; 14 Feb 45 - 28 Feb 45, attached
XXI CORPS, 22 Jan 45 - 12 Feb 45, attached; 28 Feb 45 - 7 June 45, attached
VI CORPS, 7 June 45 - 14 June 45, attached
Division & smaller
44th Infantry Division, 1 Dec 44 - 14 Dec 44
79th Infantry Division, 1 Dec 44 - 5 Dec 44 (Co. C only)
100th Infantry Division, 1 Dec 44 - 4 Dec 44 (Co. D only)
36th Infantry Division, 16 Dec 44 - 21 Dec 44
3rd Infantry Division, 21 Dec 44 - 14 Feb 45
75th Infantry Division, 30 Jan 45 - 9 Feb 45 (Co. B only)
290th Engineer Combat Bn, 19 Jan 45 - 31 Jan 45 (3rd Plat., Co. C), (attached to 28th Inf. Div.)
70th Infantry Division, 15 Feb 45 - 22 Mar 45
63rd Infantry Division, 15 Feb 45 - 22 Mar 45
12th Armored Div. CCA, 8 Mar 45 - 9 Mar 45 (Co. A only)
101st Cavalry Group, 10 Mar 45 - 17 Mar 45 (Co. B only)
100th Infantry Division, 21 Mar 45 - 25 Mar 45
4th Infantry Division, 27 Mar 45 - 18 Apr 45
42nd Infantry Division, 3 Apr 45 - 19 Apr 45
63rd Infantry Division, 18 Apr 45 - 27 Apr 45
3rd Infantry Division, 26 Apr 45 - 30 Apr 45 (Co.B only)
36th Infantry Division, 27 Apr 45 - 5 May 45
4th Infantry Division, 30 Apr 45 - 36 May 45 (Co. B only)
101st Airborne Division, 3 May 45 - 6 May 45 (Co. B only)
34th AAA Brigade, 5 May 45 - 16 May 45
16th Tank Destroyer Group, 29 May 45 - 7 Jun 45
Lt. Col. Gordon A. Dixon, CO
Maj. Charles J. Gottfried, XO
Maj. John Q. Baer, Jr., XO & S-3
Capt. Charles E. Hughes, S-2
Capt. Seymour Rosenthal, S-4
1st Lt. Ralph H. Willard, Jr., S-1
1st Lt. John M. Elgin, S-1
CWO James C. Snowden, personnel officer
Capt. Robert A. Hardie MTO
1st Lt. Fred T. Pickerell, communications officer
Capt. John G. Butkus
Capt. Carmie R. Dafoe, Jr., CO
1st Lt. Robert W. Sadek, Sr.
1st Lt. Charles J. Palen
1st Lt. Robert R. Helm
1st Lt. John Q. Chambers, Jr.
1st Lt. Ralph G. Bell
1st Lt. Harry R. Freyer
1st Lt. Walter P. Paul, Jr.
1st Lt. Seymour Lutzky
1st Lt. Charles S. Mundell
Capt. William B. Lauder, CO
1st Lt. Floyd H. Bjorklund
1st Lt. Victor M. Harris
1st Lt. Edgar J. Wimberly, Jr.
1st Lt. John M. Robbins, III
1st Lt. Frank W. Shimer
1st Lt. Bernard F. Stephens
1st Lt. James V. Derby
1st Lt. David J. Lloyd
1st Lt. James E. Rosser
1st Lt. Roy L. Neuhauser
1st Lt. Cecil E. Higgins
Capt. Frank R. Poole, Jr., CO
1st Lt. James A. Jennings, Jr.
1st Lt. Harry D. Thomas
1st Lt. Manley H. Trumble
1st Lt. George J.Kautsch
1st Lt. James E. Patching, Jr.
1st Lt. Jack Naimer
1st Lt. James M. Brack
1st Lt. Raymond L. Price
1st Lt. George R. Endicott
Capt. Vaughn E. OeGeer, CO, Btry. A, 442nd
Capt. John P. Pickett, CO, Co. A
Capt. Wendell E. asto, dental officer
Capt. Walter S. Novak, surgeon
1st Lt. Ernst J. C. Jehn, chaplain
1st Lt. Alfred S. Bacon, chaplain
W/O John W. Crowe, reconnaissance officer
Commanders of 442nd AAA (AW) Bn
Lt. Col. Charles J. Olvis
Lt. Col. Ronald N. Schartle
Lt. Col. George M. Davis
M/Sgt. John Bertano
M/Sgt. Newell T. Combs
M/Sgt. Farrell C. Klopien
1st Sgt. Cleo A. Lord
1st Sgt. Dave Korrey
T/Sgt. Alfonso L. Gonzales
T/Sgt. Glen W. Higginbotham
T/Sgt. Kenneth L. Kinney
T/Sgt. Louis W. McGee
T/Sgt. John E. Ozog
T/Sgt. Robert J. Walen
T/Sgt. Warren W. Lundquist
S/Sgt. Carl G. Borcher
S/Sgt. Donald J. Brush
S/Sgt. Victor J..Ketter
S/Sgt. Wilfred G. Nash
S/Sgt. Emmett Wells
S/Sgt. Earl R. Durheim
S/Sgt. Chester W. Nelson
S/Sgt. Mark N. Johnson
1st Sgt. Vincent Sofia
S/Sgt. John Miksch
S/Sgt. William A. Neff
S/Sgt. John Cavazos
S/Sgt. David L. Geigenmiller
S/Sgt. Nick Jurich
S/Sgt. Evert C. Nelson
S/Sgt. Thomas H. Owen
S/Sgt. Edward J. Pepperel
S/Sgt. Earl B. Copeland
S/Sgt. Robert Byers
S/Sgt. Joseph C. Debner
Tec. 3 Paul Rybur
Tec. 3 Lawrence H. Wells
1st Lt. Luther G. Smith
S/Sgt. Carl H. Jaegles
S/Sgt. Luther P. Mathis
S/Sgt. Paul E. Taylor
S/Sgt. James L. Dean. Jr.
S/Sgt. Clyde S. Heintz
S/Sgt. Douglas V. Vagg
S/Sgt. Claude Jarnigan
Tec. 3 Clifford Kimmery
1st Sgt. Frank T. Masci
S/Sgt. Hubert P. Nickerson
S/Sgt. Robert W. Hornick
S/Sgt. Gaylord V. Kisor
S/Sgt. W. J. Sims
S/Sgt. Vernon J. Gessler
S/Sgt. Elmer H. Holle
S/Sgt. Irvin W. Dillon
S/Sgt. Herman J Schmidt
Tec. 3 Phillip S. Hilliard
S/Sgt. Max Campbell
Tec. 3 Leonard D. Duer
Tec. 3 Harry Frank
GENERAL ORDERS No. 44
Washington 25, D. C., 6 June 1945
BATTLE HONORS - Citations of Units
XIII. BATTLE HONORS
2. As authorized by Executive Order 9396 (sec. I, WD Bul. 22, 1945), superseding Executive Order 9075 (sec. III, WD Bul. 11, 1942), the following unit is cited by the War Department for outstanding performance of duty in action during the period indicated, under the provisions of section IV, WD Circular 333, 1943, in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citation reads as follows:
The 3rd Infantry Division with the following attached units: 254th Infantry Regiment 99th Chemical Battalion 168th Chemical Smoke Generator Company 441st Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion (SP) 756th Tank Battalion IPW Team 183
fighting incessantly, from 22 January to 6 February 1945, in heavy snow storms through enemy-infested marshes and woods, and over a flat plain crisscrossed by numerous small canals, irrigation ditches, and unfordable streams, terrain ideally suited to the defense, breached the German defense wall on the northern perimeter of the Molmar bridgehead and drove forward to isolate Colmar from the Rhine. Crossing the Fect River from Guemar, Alsace, by stealth during the late hours of darkness of 22 January, the assault elements fought their way forward against mounting resistance. Reaching the Ill River, a bridge was thrown across but collapsed before armor could pass to the support of two battalions of the 30th Infantry on the far side. Isolated and attacked by a full German Panzer brigade, outnumbered and outgunned, these valiant troops were forced back yard by yard. Wave after wave of armor and infantry was hurled against them but despite hopeless odds the regiment held tenaciously to its bridgehead. Driving forward in knee-deep snow, which masked acres of densely sown mines, the 3d Infantry Division fought from house to house and street to street in the fortress towns of the Alsatian Plain. Under furious concentrations of supporting fire, assault troops crossed the Colmar Canal in rubber boats during the night of 29 January. Driving relentlessly forward, six towns were captured within 8 hours, 500 casualties inflicted on the enemy during the day, and large quantities of booty seized. Slashing through to the Rhone-Rhine Canal, the garrison at Colmar was cut off and the fall of the city assured. Shifting the direction of attack, the division moved south between the Rhone-Rhine Canal and the Rhine toward Neuf Brisach and the Brisach Bridge. Synchronizing the attacks, the bridge was seized and Neuf Brisach captured by crossing the protecting moat and scaling the medieval walls by ladder. In one of the hardest fought and bloodiest campaigns of the war, the 3d Infantry Division annihilated three enemy divisions, partially destroyed three others, captured over 4,000 prisoners, and inflicted more than 7,500 casualties on the enemy.
BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR:
G. C. MARSHALL
Chief of Staff
J. A. ULIO
The Adjutant General
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