History of the 772 Tank Battalion (Sherman)
WW II, European Theater
The 772nd Tank Battalion was formed on Sept. 20, 1943 at Pine Camp, New York. It was relieved from the 5th Armored Division and assigned to Special Troops, XIII Corps, and attached to the 5th Armored Division for training.
We started moving to a new area in Pine Camp on Sept. 21. Major L. L. Willard assumed command of the battalion in the absence on Lt. Col. Richard H. Jones, who was on detached service at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Lt. Col Jones returned to Pine Camp on the 28th of Sept. and assumed command of the battalion.
We trained hard on gunnery in October and practiced for air-ground liaison tests. These tests were successfully passed by the battalion in October to the accompaniment of much rain.
On the 3rd of November we moved by train to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, to train with the 75th Infantry Division. During November and December we participated in many platoon and company exercises with the 75th Division.
On the 21st of January we went to Tennessee Maneuver Area to participate in Maneuver No. 5. We were attached to the XII Corps.
Everyone did a fine job on this maneuver and we received several commendations from Headquarters 2nd Army and from the Commanding General of the 78th Infantry Division with whom we worked.
After the maneuvers were over we thought for a time that we would be going to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, but on March 24, 1944 we received orders to go to Camp Atterbury, Indiana.
This was by far the nicest camp in which we had ever served. We had a very enjoyable period in which to do our training. We concentrated on small arms firing and preparations for Army Ground Force Tests.
However, all good things must come to an end sometime, so on the 15th of May, 1944 we entrained for Camp McCain, Mississippi, for temporary duty with the 94th Division.
The 94th Division proved to be a hard fighting bunch of boys. Together with them, we participated in problems in assault on a fortified position. All this was complete with live ammunition and overhead artillery fire.
From Camp McCain we went to Camp Polk, Louisiana, on the 20th of June. After a few days there we convoyed overland to Camp Claibourne, Louisiana, on the 4th of July, 1944. There we worked with the 84th Infantry Division. After a few problems with them we worked with the 86th Infantry Division at Camp Livingston, Louisiana, and then returned to Camp Polk in preparation for movement to Camp Atterbury, Indiana.
We entrained on August 1, 1944 and arrived in Camp Atterbury on August 3rd. We were back in Gods Country.
Here in Atterburty we worked with the 106th Infantry Division and put on several demonstrations for them. During this period we lost our commanding officer, Lt. Col. Richard H. Jones, who was taken from us for overseas duty. Major L. L. Willard assumed command of the battalion.
On the 21st of September we moved by rail to Camp Rucker, Alabama, for duty with the 66th Infantry Division. Here the battalion was taken over by its new commanding officer, Lt. Col. Frank J. Spettel.
We carried on here until the 17th of October when we moved to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, to get ready to go overseas.
We worked very hard and everyone was eager to get started and at last on the 18th of January, 1945, we left Ft. Jackson for our port of embarkation, Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts.
After much checking of clothing and equipment we went to Boston, Mass., and embarked on the good ship James Parker, on the 26th day of January, 1945.
The trip across the ocean was quite a novel experience for the great majority of the troops. The first two or three days out a lot of them were sick and a few unfortunate individuals had the bad luck to be under the weather the whole trip.
On the second day out we picked up a convoy out of New York and sailed in their company for safety. We had a few submarine alerts with everyone crowded on deck and wondering what was going on. Generally, however, the trip was a pleasing one and turned out to be an experience not soon forgotten.
We were fog-bound in Portsmouth Harbor, England, for one night and then we proceeded across the English Channel to Le Havre, France, and disembarked on the 8th of February, 1945.
Le Havre, being our first sight of any city ruined by war impressed us greatly. The harbor and most of the city was blown to bits.
Immediately on disembarking at 0100 on the 9th of February, we made the famous Death March. We walked from the docks to the railway station with full field packs, hand luggage, personal arms and everything else we could carry. The distance was supposed to be about four miles but it seemed like four hundred. We arrived at the railway station at 0300 and were served doughnuts and coffee by Red Cross girls before boarding our French Pullmans the 40 and 8s.
The next day was spent on these boxcars. Several places along the line we had layovers of quite long duration and we tried out the French cider and our French conversation neither was very good.
We arrived at St. Valery en Caux during the night and were taken to camp Lucky Strike in trucks. The camp was situated on a former German airfield and there were revetments and barbed wire and mines still on the ground. The runway was full of holes and the place was pretty well banged around. In addition to that, there was the mud. Remember?
After less that a week at Camp Lucky Strike we moved in trucks to Maromme, France, to a big chateau where we made our headquarters. Maromme was on the outskirts of Rouen and the Chateau St. Jean Du Cardonnay was about two miles from Maromme.
Here we drew our vehicles and began getting them ready for use. Here also, the boys began making their first real acquaintance with the much talked of French mademoiselle.
When we started drawing our basic load of ammunition later in the month everybody knew the time was growing short and we became just a little more excited every day.
Finally, on the 17th of March, 1945, we pulled out of Maromme on our way to Germany. Our first days march was to a little suburb of Paris Clichy-sous-Bois. We stayed here all night, all day the next day and all the next night. During this time most of the men who hadnt visited Paris did so. On the 19th we moved to Vitry Le Francois where we bivouacked for the night and went on to Merlobach the next day. At Merlebach we awaited orders for about three days. During these three days our men visited Saarbrucken and collected plenty of souvenirs. On the 22nd of March the 2nd Platoon of Company D under the command of 1st Lt. Madison was attached to the Rcn. Troop of the 70th Infantry Division and proceeded to St. Ingebert, Germany. Also on the 22nd of March, Company A was attached to the 274th Infantry Regiment on the 70th Infantry Division for combat duty and proceeded to Friedrichstal, Germany. Company C was sent up north of Saarburcken to Dudweiler and Sulzbach, Germany, to support some troops of the 70th Infantry Division. They never did get into any action in this sector.
On the 23rd of March we were relieved from the 70th Infantry Division and attached to the XV Corps for operations. Preparation was made to leave Merlebach on the following morning, the 24th of March, 1945.
Saturday 24 March 1945
Today the battalion was attached to the 44th Infantry Division. The order came from the Commanding General of the XV Corps to all units concerned. The order was sent by messenger. The battalion left Merlebach early in the morning for a march to Woolfling, France, in preparation to joining the 44th Infantry Division. The weather was bad as usual; a fine, driving rain accompanying us most of the day. The march was completed during the early afternoon. The battalion was bivouacked on a hillside above the village of Woelfling---the disposition of vehicles was excellent. Later it was learned that Gen. Dean, Commanding General of the 44th Infantry Division, looked over our bivouac area and thought it was one of the best armored bivouacs he had ever seen. We were duly proud of making a good first impression.
Today was spent in bivouac at Woolfling. Necessary maintenance was performed and vehicles were put in shape for any further move, if necessary. The weather was much improved over yesterday; a bright, hot sun made its appearance early and was with us all day. In the afternoon a short reconnaissance was made by members of the Reconnaissance Platoon, Cpl. Patterson, Pvt. Kennedy, and Pvt. Valovina. These men visited and inspected certain fortifications along the Maginot Line, including an installation which was about fifty feet underground. Lt. Ellis D. Hill, Jr. was appointed Asst. S-3 vice Major Lloyd W. Koch who was appointed Executive Officer. Orders were received this afternoon to move to Hochspeyer, Germany. The battalion order and overlay was written up and distributed and all preparations were made to move out on the morning of the 26th.Monday 26 March 1945The battalion crossed the I.P. this morning at 0530 on the march to Hochspeyer. About three kilometers farther up the road a guide from the 12th Armored Division, mistaking our column for one of his own, turned the leading elements off on the wrong road. We went up this road about three miles before we discovered our mistake by running into another column of vehicles from the 12th Armored Division. We then turned around, retraced our steps and came again to the right road. We were again subject to a hard driving rain on our march today. We arrived in bivouac in the vicinity of Hochspeyer at approximately 1300 and notified the CG of the 44th Infantry Division that we were closed in bivouac at 1330. Gen. Dean paid us a visit this afternoon and welcomed us to the division and gave us a short talk.This particular bivouac area had been previously occupied by a German horse drawn supply unit. Much enemy equipment was strewn around over the area, having the appearance of being abandoned by the enemy in their haste to get away.A verbal order from the CG 44th Infantry Division was received at 1500, attaching A, B, and C Companies to the 71st, 114th, and 324th Inf. Regts. respectively. The company commanders immediately contacted the regimental commanders and moved to their new attachments.Tuesday 27 March 1945At 0200 this morning Annex #2 to Field Order #23 from CG XV Corps was received, instructing us to cross the Rhine River. At 0400 Field Order #14 from CG 44th Inf. Div was received containing details of the move. At 0500 Movement Order #3 from CO 772 Tk Bn was sent to company commanders concerned. At 0825 the battalion minus its detachments moved to cross the Rhine River. During the march the weather was bad again. Along the road on one section of the route a German column, partly motorized and partly horse drawn, had been strafed. Destroyed vehicles and dead horses lined both sides of the road for several miles. This spectacle was observed by members of the battalion with varying degrees of interest.The march today was very slow doe to the amount of traffic on the road. We crossed the Rhine on a treadway bridge just north of Worms about 1700 today and arrived in the bivouac area just north of Lampertheim at 1730.Company C with the 324th Infantry Regiment arrived earlier in the afternoon and temained in the bivouac but a short time at Lamportheim and moved out at 1530 with the 324th Infantry Regiment to forward positions in preparation for the attack. Movement to and occupation of the forward position was made without incident.At 1759 the 2nd Platoon under the command of Lt. Reed moved forward with Co. C 324th Infantry Regiment to capture and occupy the town of Viernheim, Germany. There was little enemy resistance though several prisoners were taken and small groups of prisoners continued to surrender as the day progressed. After the platoon moved forward to occupy captured positions, enemy artillery fell in the vicinity of Viernheim, but it was exceedingly light.After crossing the Rhine early in the afternoon, Co. B and the 114th Infantry Regiment went into an assembly position in the forest south and east of Lampertheim. The 1st Platoon under the command of Lt. Seer was attached to the 3rd Battalion 114th Infantry Regiment and went to an attack position in the vicinity of Sulzbach. The 2nd Platoon under the command of Lt. Eger was attached to the 1st Battalion 114th Infantry Regiment and went to an attack position approximately five kilometers west of Feinheim. The 3rd Platoon under the command of Lt. Leitner was attached to the 2nd Battalion 114th Infantry Regiment and remained in reserve.Wednesday 28 March 1945The battalion engaged in its first full scale combat today. The details of the attack were these: The 44th Infantry Division with attached troops had the mission of capturing and occupying the city of Mannheim, Germany. On the right flank, the 71st Infantry Regiment with A Co. 772 Tank Battalion attached, made the attack.In the central sector the 324th Infantry Regiment, with B Co. 772 Tank Battalion had the mission of clearing out and occupying the towns of Kaffertal and Wallstadt on the north bank of the Neckar River just across the river from Mannheim.On the extreme left flank, the 114th Infantry Regiment, with B Co. 772 Tank Battalion attached, was to clear and occupy Weinheim and move south to the Neckar River.The attack began at 0700 as planned in accordance with F.O. #15, 44th Infantry Division.In the central sector, Co. C moved up during the hours of darkness in the early morning to occupy positions on the line of departure prior to the attack at 0700. The 2nd Platoon, under Lt. Reed was attached to the 1st Battalion 324th Infantry Regiment and was on the left flank. The 3rd Platoon, under Lt. Hatch was attached to the 3rd Battalion, 324th Infantry Regiment and was on the right flank. The 1st Platoon, under Lt. Brenner was attached to the 2nd Battalion, 324th Infantry Regiment and was in the Regimental reserve.The platoon advanced abreast, well in advance of the attacking infantry and the operation proceeded rapidly meeting only light and scattered enemy resistance. By 0905 the town of HedKesheim (sp?) was captured. The 3rd Battalion, 324th Infantry Regiment, with the 3rd Platoon, 772 Tank Battalion, then pushed forward and by 1100 were clearing Wallstadt, Germany. At 1025, tanks from the 3rd Platoon, with infantry mounted on the rear deck, moved to the north bank of the Neckar River in the vicinity of 613982 (Map: Germany, 1:100,000, Mannheim) to capture and hold any bridges across the Neckar River in that vicinity. At 1220 the 2nd Platoon, 772 Tank Battalion and the 1st Battalion 324th Infantry Regiment had entered Ladenburg and were engaged in clearing the town.No bridges were found on the Neckar River, but a dam was found intact and held. At 1410 troops of the 2nd Battalion 324th Infantry Regiment, covered by fire from the 1st Platoon. C, 772 Tank Battalion, crossed the river on this dam.At 1835, the 1st Platoon, Co. C, 772 Tank Battalion, with the attached infantry, was reported to be heavily engaged with about 400 Germans. Our forces were victorious.
The remainder of the day was spent in consolidating positions prior to continuing the attack. A bridge site was found at Neckarhausen and plans were laid to capture the town and bridge the river.Early in the morning of the same day Task Force Koch was sent down to the vicinity of Keffertal to support an attack on the town. Two platoons from D Co. were sent into Keffertal behind a company of infantry from the 324th. Light sniper fire was encountered but the tanks pushed successfully into the center of town. Lt. McCaffrey and his 1st Platoon were in the lead, then came Capt Munson, C.O., in his command tank, then came Lt. Madison with his 2nd Platoon. The tanks were halted in town when a civilian fired a panzerfaust at Lt. Madisons tank from a basement window. The projectile hit the turret hatch cover, exploding and killing Lt. Madison but did not injure his gunner who was bending down in the turret. This happened at approximately 0930.The remainder of Task Force Koch, consisting of three assault guns, three 81-mm mortars, and one platoon of light tanks were not committed during the day, but remained on the north edge of Kaffertal ready to be used in an emergency. At the completion of the day the entire force withdrew from Kaffertal to the woods 1000 yards north of the town to reorganize. Later, orders moved them about one-half mile to the east to an abandoned German hospital area to remain for the night.At 0700 this morning the 114th with Co. B, 772 Tank Battalion in support , jumped off to the attack of their objectives. The 1st Platoon under Lt. Seer, jumped off from Sulzbach and fought its way south along the main road to Weinheim. The 2nd Platoon under Lt. Eger, jumped off and went along the railroad leading east into Weinheim. Much small arms fire and dual 20-mm fire was encountered. After reaching and entering Weinheim, the two platoons set about clearing the town. During this action Lt. Egers tank was fired upon with a panzerfaust by a civilian from a second story window. The charge struck the tank turret on the right side and penetrated, killing Lt. Eger immediately and seriously injuring his gunner, Cpl. Domingues, in both knees and in the back. The loader, Pvt. McMicheals, was slightly wounded in the fact by metal splashes and was blinded temporarily by the flash. In the 1st Platoon, the tank commanded by Sgt. Maurer was struck by an 88-mm Armor Piercing shell in the side just above the floor and set afire. Sgt. Maurer, the gunner, Cpl. A. H. Nelson, and the loader, Pvt. Harvey, all received burns of varying degrees. The driver and assistant driver escaped injury. In Lt. Seers tank, the gunner, Cpl. Alcocer (sp?), was slightly wounded by shrapnel in the leg when a Panzerfaust hit the battery compartment of the tank and exploded.Upon the death of his platoon leader, S/Sgt. Farmers, platoon sergeant, 2nd Platoon, took command and did an excellent job of leading them throughout the following days of battle. He was recommended for a battlefield promotion as a result of his fine work.Early in the morning of this day, Co. A, 772 Tank Battalion jumped off with the 71st Infantry Regiment in attack on their objectives. Lt. Robertsons platoon with their infantry battalion moved from the line of departure just south of Sandhofen and attacked down the east bank of the Rhine. Enemy resistance was extremely light, being limited to small arms and sniper fire. They moved on down to Mannheim proper and were moved into positions along the north bank of the Neckar River by the infantry. The tanks then kept up intermittent fire into the city across the river all the rest of the day.Lt. Grans and his platoon had a pretty hard time but they suffered no losses. The enemy seemed to concentrate every available 88-mm, 20-mm and 40-mm on Lt. Grans tanks in the vicinity of Keffertal. The tanks accounted for two flak towers and several flak wagons before the day was over. Lt. Grans was commended very highly for his good work by Col. Porter, C.O. of the 71st Infantry Regiment. All tanks of Co. A reached the north bank of the Neckar River during the day and stayed there during the night in preparation for the next days activities. There was heavy flak and some artillery put into this sector by the enemy during the night.Thursday 29 March 1945This day fighting continued in all sectors except the extreme right zone. Co. C, 772 Tank Battalion and the 324th Infantry Regiment were given the mission of clearing out Ladenburd, Ilvesheim and Pdingen and establishing a bridgehead there for a pontoon bridge. Rear Command Post of the battalion moved to Hoddesheim and the forward Command Post with Task Force Koch moved to Ladenburg to assist Co. C in protecting the bridgehead. Effective firing was done by the assault guns and tanks into the towns of Fdingen, Neckarshausen, and Friedricksfeld which neutralized enemy direct fire weapons which were holding back our infantry. One tank on the right flank was hit from the right side by an 88-mm projectile and burned. The driver, T/5 Elmer E. Coy, and the assistant drive, Pfc. Touke F. Ollikalla, were killed immediately and the funner and loader, Pfc. Tom Kendrick and Cpl. Steve Mooulski, were injured. Sgt. Roy Noycs, the tank commander, evacuated the two wounded men from the tank, but could not remove the bodies of the two dead men because the heat of the fire would not allow it.The mortar platoon, under command of Lt. M. J. Kopecky, laid down a smoke screen immediately, expending all of their ammunition, and convered the withdrawal of Co. C to a covered position. After running out of ammunition, the platoon withdrew and in the process, one half-track broken down. The crew, commanded by Sgt. Maurice Toby, was repairing the vehicle when a heavy explosive shell landed one and one-half yards to the left rear of the vehicle, killing the No. 1 gunner, Cpl William Shuff and wounding three other men. Pvt. Klein was wounded seriously be shraphel. T/5 Ernest Cespuglio, the driver was struck by a small piece of shraphel on the right side of the nose and Pvt. Welsham was badly shaken up. The wounded men were evacuated under fire by members of the Mortar Platoon and brought to the rear.A subsequent abortive counter-attack by the enemy from Friedricksfeld in the direction of Neckarshausen and Edingen was broken up by fire from artillery and tanks. The force was estimated at 100 infantry supported by a few tanks.Our forces withdrew under intense artillery fire to the north edge of Ladenburg where they stayed the night. All through the night our forces were subjected to spasmodic shelling by the enemy.The forward Command Post commanded by Major Koch and Capt. Smith stayed at Ladenburg during the entire operation and was under constant artillery fire.The Reconnaissance Platoon of the battalion was engaged in running messages, leading in gas and ammunition convoys and did an excellent job throughout the entire battle.Friday 30 March 1945At 0200 today the battalion received Operation Instructions #32 from the commanding officer 324th Infantry Regiment alerting this unit for a move to the north.The 44th Division was relieved during the preceding night by the 63rd Infantry Division and assigned to a new sector.At 1500 the battalion once again, with all companied under its control, moved north to Zwingenburg. Movement was accomplished without incident. Command Post was established in Zwingenburg and other elements of the battalion bivouacked in the field one mile west of the town.Saturday 1 April 1945Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Service, A, B and D companies remained in bivouac area vicinity Babenhausen all day today. The usual maintenance was performed in preparation for the next combat mission. At approximately 1730 this afternoon a lone ME-262 bombed and strafed the bivouac area of the line companies and Service Company. One 100-pound bomb was dropped, but it fell and exploded harmlessly in one corner of the area. No casualties were incurred by personnel and no damage sustained by any equipment. The enemy plane was fired on and driven off by anti-aircraft fire from 40-mm guns and .50-cal machine guns.Capt. Robert H. Rydman joined this battalion today from 756th Tank Battalion. He was appointed S-3. Lt. Ellis D. Hill was appointed S-2. Pfc. Neal R. Sullivan was appointed T/5 on SO-45.Co. C left Babbenhausen at 0230 this morning for attachment to 324 Infantry Regiment. They went north to Gros Auheim, remained there for sometime, crossed the river and went south to Kahl-A-Main, arriving at 1510.The 2nd Platoon, Co. C engaged in battle at 1445 and cleared enemy resistance in Michaelbach. The 3rd Platoon, Co. C engaged in battle at 1500 and cleared enemy resistance and a roadblock in Somborm. No casualties were suffered by Co, C.Monday 2 April 1945The battalion, minus Co. C, remained in Babenhausen most of the day today. The weather was good. Most of the day Col. Spettel and Lt. Hill were out in the vicinity of Achaffenburg watching the reduction of this stronghold by units of the 45th Division assisted by a squadron of P-40s.Orders were received which moved this battalion out of Babenhausen at 1820 for a new area in the vicinity of Somborn. The weather was very bad with a little rain, and a very dark night. The move was made in blackout and progressed very slowly. Several light tanks and a Ό-ton vehicle went off the side of the road during the march but were pulled out by other vehicles. The unit closed in bivouac in Somborn at 2345. Distance traveled, twenty-five miles.Co. A left Babenhausen at 1330 this afternoon and marched to Somborn for attachment to the 71st Infantry Regiment. The various platoons went into positions behind companies of the 71st and advanced against the enemy who was in a village south and east of Somborn. No casualties were suffered and no vehicles lost by Co. A. The advance was halted by darkness.In the vicinity of Kahl-A-Main, the 1st Platoon, Co. C assisted the infantry in mopping up the area from Horstein to Mainascheff. The 2nd Platoon, Co. C assisted in clearing Mobris and the 3rd Platoon cleared Omerbach. No casualties or vehicle losses were suffered by Co. C today.Tuesday 3 April 1945Today a battalion reserve consisting of Headquarters, Headquarters Company, Co. D and Service Co., was assigned to give direct support to the 71st Infantry Regiment.A force of 6,000 enemy, members of the 6th SS Mountain Reft, was reported to be advancing southeast in the 3rd Army Zone just north of our position. Some fear was expressed that elements of this force would infiltrate into our area, so the 71st Regiment and Co. D, 772 Tank Battalion installed a series of roadblocks extending along the north side of our sector. Fortunately the need for this action was negligible because the enemy was contained by the 71st Infantry Division to the north. No other activity for battalion reserve in Somborn today.Service Company moved from Somborn to Gendsroth today, a distance of three miles.Co. A remained in support of the infantry today in the vicinity of Somborn. One platoon was at Niedermittlau and the other platoons were at Omersbach. Fighting was very light and no vehicle losses or casualties were suffered by Co. A today.Today Co. C departed from Somborn at 1440 and arrived at Bad Orb two hours later in time to participate in the liberation of some 3,000 Allied prisoners of war in the camp there. A large majority of the prisoners of war were Americans. The Signal Corps had newsreel cameramen there and one of Co. Bs platoons found themselves suddenly in the movies. No casualties were suffered by Co. B today.The platoons of Co. C today engaged in consolidating positions. The 1st platoon remained in Mainaschaff, the 2nd platoon was in Somborn, and the 3rd platoon remained in Horstein. No casualties were suffered by Co. C.Wednesday 4 April 1945There was no unusual activity for the battalion reserve today. Maintenance was continued in anticipation of further moves.In Co. A the activity for the day was limited to patrolling. No casualties today.Co. B remained in Bad Orb today and engaged in no enemy action. Military Government Officials were evacuating the liberated prisoners of war as fast as was practicable.Today Co. C left Kahl-A-Main after collecting its platoons from the southern positions and proceeded at 1530 to Hochst. They arrived after a four hour trip. The weather was fair. Co. C suffered no casualties.Thursday 5 April 1945There was no change for the battalion reserve in Somborn except that Service Co. moved from Gondsroth to Meerholtz, a distance of five miles. Usual organizational duties were continued in preparation for our next mission. The weather was cold and rainy.Co. A was still in support of its infantry regiment. The 1st platoon advanced from Niedermittlau to Meerholtz and the other platoons withdrew from Omerbach and Dornstoinbach to Herbach. They had no contact with the enemy this day.Co. B was still at Bad Orb in support of the 71st Infantry and elements of Co. B assisted in the capture of five enemy prisoners. Otherwise, there was no activity in their sector.Co. C remained in bivouac in Hochst today, having no contact with the enemy. Hubert E. Wynn was promoted from Pfc. To Sgt. On SO-49.Friday, 6 April 1945No change today for the battalion reserve still in Somborn. Usual organizational duties were carried on. The weather was cold and rainy.In Co. A, still with the 71st Infantry Regiment, there was no great change. The activity of the day was limited to the routine patrolling of their area of responsibility.In Co. C, at Bad Orb, however, there were three non-battle casualties. T/5 Everett W. Long slipped on the back of a tank and fractured the big toe on his right foot and had to be evacuated to the rear. T/4 Floyd E. Roberts received a laceration wound in the right side of the chin and right ear. Cpl. Edwin F. Albrecht received a fractured left arm when their tank on patrol hit a log. The force of the blow caused the log to come up the slope plate of the tank, enter the drivers hatch and move on back into the turret basket. These injuries caused both men to be evacuated to the rear.
There was no enemy action in Co. B today. Col C remained in bivouac in Hochst today and met no enemy activity.Saturday 7 April 1945Today all companies reverted to battalion control in preparation for a contemplated move to a new area in the south.Service Co. remained in Meerholtz today performing maintenance for the battalion.Co. A still in the same location as 6 April. No contact with the enemy was made.
Co. B suffered another stroke of bad luck today at Bad Orb. Sgt. Robert L. Stercy became a non-battle casualty when he contracted cellulites and had to be evacuated to the rear. Otherwise, everything was quiet, no enemy being encountered during the period.Co. C remained in bivouac in Hochst and encountered no enemy during the period.Co D had a run of bad luck today in that T/4 James W. Moody was accidentally shot in the leg while cleaning his weapon and had to be evacuated to the rear. Otherwise normal camp duties prevailed.Sunday 8 April 1945Today the battalion made the long march from Somborn to Werbachhausen, a distance of 65 miles. We traveled down the valley of the Main River and the scenery was beautiful. The weather was ideal for a road march. En route we saw hundreds of bombers pass overhead on a mission into the interior of Germany. At one point along the road we saw a prison compound with about a thousand German prisoners of war in it. There were no unusual incidents on the march and no enemy were encountered. We left Somborn at 0830 and arrived in Werbachhausen at 1500.Co. A, upon arrival at Werbachhausen, reverted to control of the 71st Infantry Regiment and proceeded to Wenkheim. En route to their destination Co. A captured six prisoners. No casualties were incurred.Co. C, upon arrival at Werbachhausen, had supper, gassed up all vehicles and left Werbachhausen at 2230. They were attached to the 324th Infantry Regiment in the vicinity of Assamstadt. The 324th at this time was attached to VI Corps. Co. C arrived at Assamstadt at 0030 0 April after a trip of 104 miles.Co. B, upon arrival at Werbachhausen, went into bivouac area one-half mile northwest of Wendheim, still under battalion control.
Co. D left Somborn with the convoy and went into bivouac at Brunntal, a little village about one-half mile east of Werbachhausen. T/5 Joseph San Souci was a non-battle casualty when he became afflicted with a hernia and was evacuated to the rear.Monday 9 April 1945The battalion, minus Co. C remained in bivouac at Werbachhausen today, engaged in usual organizational duties and the maintenance of vehicles.Service Co. lost T/5 James F. Crabtree, duty to sick in quarters today.Co. A and Co. B remained in bivouac in the vicinity of Utenkheim and encountered no enemy action.Co. C remained in bivouac, vicinity Assamstadt, and carried on maintenance in preparation for the next mission. At 2200 tonight Co. C left Assamstadt and traveled to Hollenbach, arriving at 1100 after traveling 21 miles. The first platoon engaged the enemy at 1130 in the vicinity of Ermershausen, the 2nd Platoon contacted resistance in Blaufelden and the 3rd Platoon fought into Bartenstein. All platoons were driving steadily toward their objectives at 1800 today. No casualties or vehicle losses.Tonight, and for several nights hereafter, we were visited by a lone German plane about 2300. Apparently he was trying to draw fire because he would strafe anyone who showed a light or who fired on him. We encountered no trouble from him so far.Tuesday 10 April 1945All companies except Co. C remained in bivouac here today and performed necessary maintenance for the next mission. Nothing unusual happened again today. Bedcheck Charlie, our German pilot friend visited us again tonight. No damage was done because he could not find any lights to fire at.Co. C, with the Command Post still at Hollenbach was in contact with the enemy. The 1st platoon cleaning out pockets of enemy resistance and consolidating its position in Bartenstein. The 2nd platoon was engaged in mopping up the remaining enemy in Sigisweiler and Erpfersweiler. The 3rd platoon was working in and around Adolzhausen. No casualties were incurred in this operation.Wednesday 11 April 1945With the exception of Companies B and C, the battalion spent a quiet day in Werbachhausen, going about their business. Of course our friend Bed-check Charlie visited us again tonight. Outside of that nothing unusual happened.Co. B moved out of their area to go to Lundachshof, arriving there at1030. They resumed their attachment to the 114th Infantry Regiment. No enemy action was encountered.Co C had an exciting day today. The 1st Platoon remained in reserve at Reidbach after having moved there with the Command Post from Hellenbach. The 2nd Platoon was in the vicinity of Sigisweiler after having withdrawn from Blaufelden the night before under heavy enemy pressure. The 3rd Platoon was the outfit that really had the excitement today. Starting in the vicinity of the little village of Zell, they launched an attack on Schrozburg. Together with the supporting infantry and three tank destroyers, one section of the 3rd Platoon swept forward unchecked while the other section formed a base of fire. A suspected anti-tank gun position in a barn north of Schrozburg was fired on and burned to the ground. Then without slackening their pace, the assaulting tanks and infantry swept into Schrozburg. Back at Zell an interesting thing was happening: the engineers of the 44th Infantry Division were engaged in removing a mine field from around a crater, which was blown in the road just north of Zell. There were two sets of tank tracks through the mine field but no mines were blown. It developed that two tanks from the 1st Platoon, Co. C, commanded by Ssgts. Zenar and Christensen, had made an attack on Zell the night before. They had been stopped on the road by the crater, but thinking it was from a bomb and not from demolition they decided to go around it. This they did, going around the crater to the left with about 25 yards lateral interval between them. They proceeded with their attack on Zell and left the village burning fiercely. Upon completion of their mission, they retraced their route back to the assembly area, again passing through the minefield on the same side of the road. Neither of the tanks exploded any mines and neither of the tank commanders had any idea that there were any mines planted there. On examination by the commanding officer of Co C and the S-2 of the battalion, it was found that there was a mine three feet to the left of the left track of one tank and another mine five inches to the inside of the right track. The pressure board of the closest mine was tripped to one side by the pressure of the earth moved by the tank tread. The mines were made of 20-25 ½ pound blocks of TNT encased in plastic covers. Any one of them would have blown off the suspension system and possibly breached the belly of the tank. Lady Luck was riding in the turret that night.To resume the narrative, Co. B lost a man, Pfc. James P. Galvin today who was sick in quarters and had to be evacuated to the rear. Otherwise, Co. B performed the usual organizational duties today.Thursday 12 April 1945Today all companies except B and C remained in bivouac in Werbachhausen performing the usual organizational duties. No contact with the enemy was made by anyone. Bedcheck Charlie visited us again tonight. The weather continued to be good.Co. B remained in bivouac in the vicinity of Wurzburg attached to the 114th Infantry Regiment. No contact with the enemy this day.The Command Post of Co. C remained in Reidbach today with the 1st Platoon in reserve. The 2nd Platoon occupied defensive positions in Blaufelden and the 3rd Platoon performed the same function at Schrozburg.Friday 13 April 1945No change from yesterday. All companies with the exception of B and C remained in Werbachhausen awaiting call to the next mission.In Service Co., T/5 Lloyd D. Dawson was promoted to the grade of T/4, and Pfc. James A. Young was promoted to the grade of T/5.In Co. A, Pfc. Maurice Rodriguez was lost to the battalion as a result of an accidental gunshot would in the left ring finger.In Co. B, S/Sgt. Albert H Wermers was honorably discharged to accept a battlefield commission to Second Lieutenant. We were happy for Lt. Wermers and very proud of him for the way he carried on when his platoon leader was killed in Weinheim.
Cpls. William F. OBrien and William J. Parker were appointed sergeants; T/5 Lester A Congden and Horace C. Wycoff were appointed T/4. No enemy actin today.The situation with Co. C changed slightly. The 1st Platoon remained in regimental reserve; the 2nd Platoon advanced to a line Blaufelden-Sigisweiler-Schrozberg-Krnilhausen-Kauezfeld. The towns Oberstettin and Schrozberg were occupied without losing any men.Saturday 14 April 1945The battalion had a little diversion today in the form of a firing range conducted by the 44th Infantry Division. Some of the boys had quite a time trying out their captured German weapons. Beside this nothing happened today that is worthy of mention.In Co. B today, Ste. Carl J. Kjar was presented with the Bronze Star by the battalion commander. Were are very proud of Sgt. Kjar who cleared a stuck round under artillery fire. More details will be found in the citation which is with the supporting documents of this history. No enemy action was encountered today by Co. B.Co. C had two men slightly wounded today; Cpl. Raymond A Karstadt was wounded in action near Blaufelden by a piece of shrapnel from a mortar shell. The fragment penetrated the left thigh. S/Sgt. James A. Nelson was wounded when he was examining a captured enemy pistol; the bullet penetrated the right foot.For the action of the day the 1st Platoon, still in reserve, moved to the vicinity of Sigisweiler; the 2nd Platoon, in conjunction with the 1st Battalion of the 324th Infantry Regiment, attacked Blaubach, east of Blaufelden, at 1100, but was not able to occupy the town because of heavy artillery and flak fire. A subsequent attack by this unit on a village of Emmerstbuhl at 1600 was successful and the platoons remained in Emmerstbuhl and consolidated their positions. The 3rd Platoon in conjunction with Co. I of the 3rd Battalion, launched an attack on Speckheim, but was thrown back and had to withdraw in the face of heavy artillery fire. The platoon entered the woods northwest of Speckheim and consolidated positions there.Sunday 15 April 1945No change from yesterday for the bulk of the battalion. This is a period of extreme inactivity as far as enemy action is concerned.Co. B came down from Wurzburg today to fire on the range at Werbach.With Co. C at Schrozburg the 1st Platoon remained at Sigisweiler in reserve. The 1st Section of the 2nd Platoon moved to Sulzbach and remained in position. The 2nd Section of the 2nd Platoon remained in Emmertsbuhl. The 1st Section of the 3rd Platoon attacked Speckheim again with Co. I and was successful. The 2nd Section of the 3rd Platoon attacked the village of Naicha with Co. L. This mission was accomplished at 1100. No casualties.Monday 16 April 1945Today the entire battalion, minus Co. C, moved to Hottstadt, Germany, to participate with the 44th Infantry Division in practice rover crossings. We left Werbachhausen at 1810 and closed in bivouac n the vicinity of Hottstadt at 1940. The distance traveled was 15 miles. The weather was clear and the roads were good. The trip was made without incident.In Co. C today, the platoons, in conjunction with companies of the 324th Infantry Regiment, successfully cleared enemy resistance in the towns of Ob Barenuisiler, Hauteluindon, Ki Barenuieler, Fhringhausen, and Wissenbach. In the process of cleaning up the towns, 210 enemy prisoners were taken. One officer, Lt. Brenner, and two men were slightly wounded with a shell fragment from an exploding artillery shell.Tuesday 17 April 1945The battalion, minus Co. C, remained in bivouac today performing usual organizational duties and necessary maintenance. Several trips were made by various officers of the battalion to the site of the river where it was planned that we should practice river crossings. Other than this, peace prevailed on the countryside. Our friend, Bed-check Charlie visited us again last night, but could not seem to spot us for some reason or other. Our blackout discipline was excellent.We received a number of replacements today from the army replacement pool. They were very nice looking lads and some of them looked as though they would make good tankers. They will have to work hard to measure up to the standards of the men whose places they are taking.The Command Post of Co. C was still in Schmalfeldin today. The 1st Platoon assisted the infantry in an attack on Hegenau and Brettheim. The 2nd Platoon assisted in clearing Herbsthausen and in the capture of Engelhardhausen. The 3rd Platoon addicted in the taking of Hogenau and Brettheim. There were three slightly wounded men who were not hospitalized.Wednesday 18 April 1945This morning the battalion, still minus Co. C, left Hottstadt at 0640 and moved by convoy south to Michaelfeld. Headquarters, Headquarters Co., Co. A and Co. D bivouacked in the vicinity of Michaelfeld. Service Co. stopped at Wallenburg, four miles back of the forward elements. Co. B stopped off at Beltersrodt to work with the 114th Infantry Regiment. The longest distance traveled was 75 miles by the forward elements. The trip was made without incident.Co. C had quite a day today. The Command Post left Schalfeldin at 1530 and moved to Wissenbach at 1615, a distance of five miles. The 1st Platoon moved from Brettheim to attack the town of Kuhnbard in conjunction with Co. F of the 324th Infantry Regiment. There was fierce enemy opposition in the way of artillery fire and rockets from nebelwerfer covering the approaches. The 1st Section entered from the southeast. All told, the sections captured 35 prisoners in the process of cleaning out the town. The 3rd Platoon moved from Brettheim to clear the woods in the vicinity of Kichnhard with Co. L of the 324th Infantry Regiment. This attack was successful; two enemy machine guns being liquidated and their crews taken prisoner. The 2nd Platoon moved from Herbsthausen with Co. C of the 324th Infantry Regiment to attack the town of Hilgartshausen. The mission was completed at 0930. At 1600 the 2nd Section with Co. C moved to the woods west of Hilgartshausen to clear them of enemy. Quite a bit of small arms and automatic weapons fire was encountered but the mission was completed at 1730. The 1st Section, 2nd Platoon moved out with Co. A from Fngelnordhausen at 0950 and cleared the woods to the southeast. Some Mortar fire and small arms fire was encountered. Mission was completed at 1030. One light casualty was incurred.Thursday 19 April 1945The battalion today left Michaelfeld at 1130 en route to Welzheim. Headquarters, Headquarters Co., Co. A, arrived at Welzheim at 2200 and went into bivouac. The distance traveled was 23 miles. Weather was good and no enemy were encountered on the march.Service Co. left Waldenburg at 1330 and proceeded by way of Michaelfeld to Ob Rot, arriving at 2215. Distance traveled, 19 miles. Weather was very good and no enemy action was experienced.In Co. B, the company left its bivouac at Teurershan at 1030 and arrived at Uttennoffen at 1200. After a short stay there they left at 1815 and traveled to Hitzelrot, arriving at 1830. The distance traveled all day was 17 miles. Enemy action was encountered at 1630 consisting of heavy artillery and mortar fire. Some anti-tank fire was also met. Several small arms positions were reduced. No personnel or vehicular casualties were incurred by Co. B today.Co. C left Wersenbach today at 1130 and arrived at Hausen at 2000 after a trip of 57 miles. The weather was clear and no enemy action was encountered. This is the exception rather than the rule for Co. C, who had a well deserved name for themselves of looking for trouble.Co. D left Michaelfeld at 1145 today and traveled to Schafhof, a distance of 22 miles. They closed in bivouac there at 2040. No enemy action encountered.Friday 20 April 1945Today the battalion, minus its attachments, departed its location at Welzheim at 1315 and set out for Goppingen, arriving at 1600. The distance traveled was 20 miles. The roads were good and the weather was clear. Some enemy action was encountered in the form of either enemy owned and operated P-47 fighters which strafed the bridge at Lorch and parts of the column on the road. No casualties were incurred because the planes were driven off and four were shot down by the intense anti-aircraft fire from all units, including the 895th AA Battalion. We do not resent getting strafed by a plane of German manufacture, but when the Jerries turn our own equipment against us, we react unfavorably for the Germans.Service Co. left Ob Rot at 115 today and proceeded to Larch where they set up a service part. Distance traveled was 36 miles. 2nd Lt. Robert Busch, Jr. was promoted to 1st Lieutenant today Good Work, Busch!In Co. A, also in Goppingen, 2nd Lt Wesley H. Grans was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. We are for it 100%.With Co. B they departed from their bivouac in Wittel Rot at 1330 today and headed for Alfdorf. They arrived n Alfdorf at 1600 and set up a bivouac ½ mile to the east. There was a small amount of light enemy resistance in the vicinity of Mittel Rot, but no vehicles were lost. One enlisted man received a very superficial wound. 2nd Lt. Sidner Leitner and 2nd Lt. Andrew F. Seer, Jr. were promoted to 1st Lt. Good work, fellows.Co. C left Hausen at 1335 and arrived at Lorch at 1717 after traveling 21 miles. The weather was clear and the roads good and no enemy action was encountered.Today, Co. D left Schafhof at 1315 and arrived at Ulangen at 2145 after traveling 25 miles. An air attack was launched by the enemy on this column in the afternoon, but no casualties were incurred.Saturday 21 April 1945The battalion today minus Companies A and B, left Goppingen at 1600 and proceeded to Sussen, arriving at 1700. Distance traveled, seven miles. The move was made without incident. The battalion is now in direct support of the 324th Infantry Regiment. The weather was stormy with much rain.Co. A left Coppingen at 1700 and proceeded to Mulhausen and took up positions. The 1st Platoon tood position at Gruibingen, the 2nd Platoon at Weisensteig, and the 3rd Platoon at Brackenstein. The company, in the process of traveling these 18 miles, overran eleven towns. There were no casualties and no vehicles lost.Co. B remained in bivouac at Alfdorf and performed the usual organizational duties.Sunday 22 April 1945The battalion, minus A and B, remained in Sussen today. Several of the platoons of the various companies had taken action. The Assault and Mortar Platoons, Headquarters Co. did outpost duty on the outskirts of Sussen today but encountered no enemy activity.In Co. B, the 3rd Platoon contacted the enemy one mile south of Schwabish Gmund at 0230. Artillery fire, mortar fire and automatic fire was encountered. No vehicles were lost, but one man, T/5 Grover A. Gargus, was injured win the head and chest by a bazooka shell which struck his tank. Co. B them departed from Schwabish Gmund at 1830 and traveled to Sussen, arriving at 22154. Travel by convoy was difficult because of the snow.In Co. D, all platoons were in contact with the enemy all day in the vicinity of Densdorf. No vehicular or personnel casualties.Co. A left Mulhausen at 1530 today and traveled to Feldstetten arriving at 1700, a distance of eleven miles. The 1st Platoon, in its advance to Feldstetten encountered only light and scattered enemy resistance. The 2nd Platoon in its advance to Bottingen, assisted in clearing the towns of Westerheim, Feldstetten, and Bottingen. In all, 44 enemy prisoners were taken. Among the items of enemy equipment destroyed was an 88-mm gun. The 3rd Platoon had quite a busy day. It assisted in the clearing of Unt Obr, Drackenstein, Holenstadt, Laichinan, Franaburen and Sonthein. In addition to this they cleared 15 defended roadblocks, destroyed two 37-mm guns, three 88-mm guns and two rocket launcher teams. There were no casualties in this company today.Monday 23 April 1945Today, before leaving Sussen, this battalion, minus its attachments, was designated Task Force Spettel and given the mission of screening the left flank of VI Corps. This task force consisted of the following: Headquarters Co., Co. B, Service Co., of the 772 Tank Battalion and the Reconnaissance Troop of the 44th Infantry Division, Reconnaissance Co., 776th Tank Destroyer Battalion, and Co. G of the 114th Infantry Regiment. All unit commanders of this force were assembled and given instructions and areas of responsibility on the left flank.At 1600 the Headquarters left Sussen and arrived in Bad Ditzenbach at 1745. The roads and the weather were both good.Co. A today left Feldstetten at 0930 and reached their new area in Fhingen at 1600. They traveled a distance of 36 miles. The 1st Platoon, after advancing with the infantry and seizing Fhingen, kept on going and forded the Danube River. They took up positions in Berg. There was no oppolition from the enemy. This platoon also contacted the French Army in the nearby sector by radio at 1600.The 2nd Platoon advanced to Fhingen and out posted the town. The 3rd Platoon, after assisting in the seizure of Fhingen, also forded the Danube River and supported the troops already in Berg.Co. B left Sussen today at 1430 and arrived in Machtolsheim at 1940. They made their advance south against slight enemy opposition. No casualties.Co. C left Hausen at 1000 today and proceeded to Donau Riedon arriving at 1930. They traveled a distance of 91 miles. The 1st Platoon attacked Ulm, meeting slight resistance, but some flat trajectory fire was encountered by the 2nd Platoon who were attacking Ulm from the right flank. The 3rd Platoon remained in reserve. There were no casualties.Tuesday 24 April 1945Today the mission of Task Force Spettel was changed to the screening of the right flank of the 44th Infantry Division . Our attachment changed slightly in that Co. G of the 114th Infantry Regiment was attached to our force. We left Bad Ditzenbach at 0800 and arrived at Machtolsheim at 0945.Service Co., following the convoy, dropped off at Nellingen to det up its service park at 1645.The Command Post of Co. C was still in Fhingen today, however, the 1st Platoon assisted the infantry in advancing through Griesingen, Risstissen, Achstetten, Ob Holzheim, Bihlafingen, Schnurpelingen and Illerieden and secured a bridgehead over the Iller River. Heavy small arms fire and some 88-mm fire was encountered but no casualties, either personnel or vehicular, were incurred. The 1st Platoon stayed the night at Illerienden. The 2nd Platoon advanced to Weihungazell and the 3rd Platoon to Dietenheim, these towns having been previously cleared.Today Co. B left Machtolsheim at 1600 and went to Allmendingen, arriving there at 1800. They were still attached to the 1`14th Infantry Regiment. No enemy action was met.With Co. C at Ulm the company left Bonawieheim at 1930. The 1st Platoon attacked Ulm with the 1st Battalion of the 324th Infantry Regiment at 0640 and entered the city at 0850 after encountering small arms and artillery fire. The 2nd Platoon with the 2nd Battalion attacked at 0640 and entered the city at 1450. The 3rd Platoon with the 3rd Battalion remained in reserve and entered Ulm at 1700. All platoons took up defensive positions for the night.Co. D today traveled from Bergheulen to Machtelsheim and on to Psrnstadt arriving at 1430. All platoons were in contact with the enemy during the day but no casualties were incurred.Wednesday 25 April 1945Task Force Spettel continued its mission of screening the right flank of the 44th Infantry Division. We left Machtelsheim at 0615 and set up headquarters at Allmenmdingen at 0800.Co. A remained in Fhingen today and performed the usual organizational duties.Co. B departed from Allmendingen at 1830 today and proceeded to Laupheim, arriving at 2015. Light and disorganized enemy resistance was encountered along the route but was easily overcome. No personnel or vehicular casualties were incurred.Co. C left Ulm today at 1600 and arrived in Altenstadt at 2145. No enemy action was encountered on the trip.Thursday 26 April 1945Task Force Spettel was dissolved and the battalion, minus Companies A and C continued in direct support of the 114th Infantry Regiment. We assisted in the capture and occupation of the city of Memmingen. We left Allmendingen at 0600 and set up oru headquarters in Memmingen at 2330. Today we traveled a distance of 35 miles.2nd Lt. Garrett C. Whitworthal assumed his principal duties as reconnaissance platoon leader today. Lt. Whitworthal is a recent addition to our organization and we welcome him with the so called Hooh Rah.Today the Headquarters tank section finally got into the war and started earning their money. Just within the town of Grimmell, a band of enemy numbering approximately 100 men was encountered. Two tanks from Headquarters section commanded by 1st Lt. Ellis D. Hill, S02, and a squad of men from a field artillery unit succeeded in driving the enemy back from our route of advance. Thirty of the enemy were killed and ten were captured.The Command Post of Co. A moved to Frksheim at 0600 today, and set up headquarters at 0900. The 1st Platoon assisted the infantry in clearing Vohringen, Thal, Illerburg and Reidhof, then moved to Frksheim and cleared the city. The 2nd Platoon moved from Dietenheim to Unterholzgunz and the 3rd Platoon moved from Illertissen to Sontheim, encountering heavy enemy opposition along the way. Among emeny equipment destroyed was one 88-mm gun, one 75-mm gun, and two flak guns. No casualties were incurred by Co. A.Co. B, today, moved from Laupheim to Memmingen, still attached to the 114th Infantry regiment. Light enemy resistance was encountered on the way, but was easily overcome. The 1st Platoon assisted in the capture of 200 enemy prisoners.Co. C remained in Altemstadt today performing usual organizational duties. No enemy action.Co. D left Allmendingen at 0945 today and arrived at Memmingen at 2230 after a trip of 35 miles. The 1st Platoon saw a little resistance in the form of small arms fire. The 2nd Platoon encountered very heavy small arms and artillery fire in the vicinity of Orlach. The 3rd Platoon remained in reserve for maintenance. Co. D had one man, Pvt. Fred A. Backus, killed by sniper fire today in Ravensburg.Friday 27 April 1945The battalion, minus its line companies, moved today from Mimmingen to Kempten, a trip of 22 miles. We were still in support of the 114th Infantry Regiment. The weather was stormy.Service Co. remained in Memmingen where it found hard standing on which to perform its maintenance to supply the battalion.Co. A moved its headquarters from Frksheim to Fbersbach today, a distance of 70 miles. The 1st Platoon moved to Ob Gunzburg, the 2nd Platoon moved to Fbersbach, the 3rd Platoon moved to Friesenried. No enemy contact was made during the day.In Co, B there was very slight enemy resistance. They arrived in Memmingen at 0230 this morning and continued southward at 1425 arriving at Kempten at 2030. Total distance traveled 24 miles.The Command Post of Co. C remained at Altenstadt. All platoons were in reserve with the infantry, the 1st Platoon at Steinheim, the 2nd Platoon at Altenstadt, and the 3rd Platoon at Memmingen.Co. D made a 20 mile road march from Memmingen to Dietmannsried today. They arrived at the new location at 2115. Weather cloudy. No enemy activity encountered.Saturday 28 April 1945The battalion reserve, still in support of the 114th Infantry Regiment, moved from Kempten to Nesselwang today. The forward elements of our combat team are meeting very slight resistance and the reserve has not been committed as yet. We arrived in Nesselwang at 1215 after traveling 12 miles. Weather was very stormy.T/4 Joseph A. Chiovero was appointed S/Sgt. Today in Headquarters Co.Service co. left Memmingen today and proceeded to Kempten where they set up a service park. Cpl. August P. Amoroso was appointed T/4.Headquarters and Co. A moved from Fbersbach to Fussen today. The 1st Platoon proceeded to Vila and on the way encountered artillery fire in the vicinity of Ob Bunzberg. They destroyed four 88-mm guns. Then the 1st Platoon crossed the German-Austrian border and moved to Vils and secured the town. The 2nd Platoon advanced to Fussin. Their only contact was the capture of 100 enemy prisoners. The 3rd Platoon moved to Roiden, no contact.Co. C remained in reserve today and had no contact with the enemy. Headquarters Co. moved from Altenstadt to Mittelburg, a distance of 28 miles. The 1st Platoon remained in Mittelberg, the 2nd platoon moved to Kempton, and the 3rd Platoon to Haslach.Sunday 29 April 1945The battalion reserve continued in support of the 114th Infantry Regiment today, but made no contact with the enemy. Headquarters moved from Nesselwang to Steinach, traveling five miles.Service Co. had one vehicle strafed today by a group of P-47 fighters in enemy hands. Capt. Loblaw, Company Commander, was a passenger in the vehicle, but he and the other occupants succeeded in escaping injury.Co. A moved from Fussen to Reutte today between 0600 and 1200. No contact with the enemy was encountered. It snowed today. We are really up in the Tyrolean Alps now.Co. B moved from Nesselwang to Steinbach today. No enemy contact was experienced.The Command Post of Co. C remained at Mittelburg. The 1st Platoon cleared out light enemy resistance at Werbach, the 2nd Platoon in reserve at Kempton, and the 3rd Platoon in reserve at Hoslach. No casualties.Monday 30 April 1945The battalion moved from Steinach to Fhrwald today, a distance of 25 miles. It is still snowing today. There was no more contact with the enemy on the part of the battalion reserves.Service Co. moved from Kempton to Reutte today and set up their service park.Co. A moved to Lermoos today, the 2nd Platoon in Unterdorf and the 3rd Platoon remained in Reutte. No enemy action.Co. B remained in Steinach today for maintenance. Pvt. James D. Austin was appointed Cpl. And Pfc. Larkin M. Garner was appointed T/5. No enemy action in Co. B today.Co. C remained at Mittelburg today. The 1st Platoon encountered some small arms fire at Wertach, otherwise, no other enemy fire encountered. Pfc. Wayne M. Stevenson was appointed Cpl. And T/5 Samuel T. Chadduck was appointed T/4.Tuesday 1 May 1945Today, Headquarters, Headquarters Co., Co. A and D remained in Ehrlwald and Lermoos which are small villages about three kilometers apart. Reconnaissance indicated to us that the road to our objective was impassable due to blown bridges and in induced landslide.The 1st Platoon of Co. A advanced with the infantry to a point two miles southwest of St. Rochus and halted when the road became impassable. Also, in this location small arms fire and some 88-mm fire was encountered. The location of the 2nd Platoon remained the same, and the 3rd Platoon moved to Oberdorf but had no contact with the enemy.Service Co. remained in Reutte today.Co. B remained in Steinach today continuing their maintenance period.The command post of Co. C today moved from Berg to Muhl, a distance of 30 miles. The 1st Platoon remained in reserve at Berg, the 2nd Platoon at Muhl, and the 3rd Platoon at Reutte. It snowed quite heavily today.Wednesday 2 May 1945No change today for Headquarters and D companies. We just stayed at Fhrwald and watched the snow grow deeper.Service Co. Remained at Reutte.Co. A moved its Command Post and all its platoons today to Oberdorf. No enemy action was encountered.Co. B today departed from Steinach and moved to Hazelgeng. A distance of 29 miles. There was no enemy action.Co. C remained in Muhl today performing the usual organizational duties.Thursday 3 May 1945Today the Headquarters Tank Section and one assault gun under command of Lt. Silvernail engaged the enemy in the vicinity of Fern Pass. Bazooka and small arms fire was encountered. One tank was hit by a panzerfaust in the suspension system, but no internal damage was done. No casualties occurred. Another tank was hit today by bazooka fire. Lt. Harold S. Cropper was transferred to Co. D to take over a platoon of tanks. Lt. Robert Busch, Jr., came from Service Co. to take the place as Adjutant.Co. A remained in Oberdorf today and had no enemy action.Co. B remained in Hazelgeng and performed usual organizational duties.Co. C left Muhl today at 0930 and arrived in Fherwald at 1100, after a trip of 13 miles. The 3rd Platoon was left in reserve at Reutte. No enemy action was encountered.Friday 4 May 1945Today the Headquarters and Headquarters Co., and Co. C moved to Imst in support of the Infantry. Our main resistance from the enemy consisting of small delaying action by two, three or more men and of roadblocks. We arrived in Imst at 1100 today and set up the Command Post in an abandoned factory building.Service Co. joined Battalion Headquarters today in Imst, traveling a distance of 33 miles from Reutte.Co. A moved to Telfs today. The 1st Platoon moved out with the infantry and cleared the towns of Rietz, Holzleiten, Haslack, Siltz, and Otz. There was very little opposition. The platoon took approximately 300 prisoners and 20 vehicles. No casualties. The 3rd Platoon went into position at Nessereith with the 71st Infantry Regiment.Today Co. B moved from Haselgang to Reutte. No enemy action encountered.Co. C preceded the advance of the battalion today to Imst and cleared out the slight remaining enemy resistance all the way. There were no casualties.Co. D had one man, Sgt. Elmer J. Soldier, killed in action today when he tried to evacuate a wounded man under artillery fire. The company moved from Fhrwalt to Tarrenz today.Saturday 5 May 1945Today hostilities ceased in our sector by the surrender of the German 19th Army to our direct front.In Headquarters Co. today Lt. Milton J. Kopecky and Lt. John H. Lainhart were promoted to 1st Lieutenants.Co. A remained in Telfs today and performed usual organizational duties.Co. B arrived in Hermoos today, coming from Reutte, a distance traveled of 15 miles.Co. C left Imst today at 0900 and arrived in Landeck, a distance traveled of 31 miles. All platoons went out on outpost duty to the south, east, and west of town.Co. D remained in Tarrenz today.Sunday 6 May 1945Today orders were received forming the 776th Tank Destroyer Battalion and the 772 Tank Battalion into Task Force Spettel for the purpose of occupying and policing the area surrounding Lermoos, and Fhrwals, and including the villages of Biberwier, St. Rochus, St. Naria, Oberdorf, Unterdorf, Lehm, Bichelbach, and Berwang. We left Imst at 1130 and arrived in Lermoos at 1300, set up headquarters in Gasthaus Loisach.Co. C remained in Landeck on guard duty with the 324th Infantry Regiment.Monday, 7 May 1945Today the battalion was engaged in establishing roadblocks on the principal roads in our area of responsibility. Our main duty was the gathering together of all stragglers from German units and the freezing in place of all civilian traffic.Co. C was doing patrol duty, still at Landeck with the 324th Infantry Regiment.Tuesday 8 May 1945The battalion continued its usual organizational duties. The evacuation of civil and military personnel continued. The police of the area began.Co. C was still at Landeck doing patrol duty.Wednesday 9 May 1945The battalion continued on its present assignment.Lt. Olsen and Lt. Diliberto were placed on detached service with a Displaced Persons Center which was located at Fhrwald.Co. C was still at Landeck.Thursday 10 May 1945The battalion, still minus Co. C at Landeck, was engaged in the usual organizational duties and the furtherance of its present mission.May 11-31, 1945The narrative for the remaining twenty-one days of May must , of course, be descriptive. All offensive action having ceased, the battalion had been stationary since coming to Lermoos and nothing of single importance had happened.As can be noted in the first ten days of this narrative, the battalion was placed on duty as occupation troops in the Lermoos-Fhrwald area in conjunction with the 776th Tank Destroyer Battalion.We carried out these duties, which included operation of roadblocks, screening of civilians, policing of the area and supervision of nine hospitals, to the best of our ability, until the 13th of May. On 13 May our battalion was relieved of its duty as occupation troops and put on an alert status, ready for an early move to the north. Mannheim, Germany was given as the point where we would make our first stop.These orders, as indefinite as they were, started many, many rumors floating around. Some said we were going directly to the C.B.I., while others were equally sure that we would see the States again before going to fight the Japs.Be that all as it may, we immediately went into a training program with vim and vigor. The program consisted of range firing with all weapons, including indirect fire with the 75-mm and 76-mm guns. We also conducted two-hour mountain climbs to get the men back into shape. Then there were a series of overnight bivouacs for the tank companies, stressing all around security and patrolling. There was more than the usual amount of games for sport and recreation.During the period we had many passes to different parts of the continent. A few men each week went to Paris, Lyon, and Nancy, France, and the United Kingdom. All of them returned tired but happy. Lt. McCaffrey reported of Nancy, Its terrific, it shouldnt happen to a dog! This seemed to be the general consensus of opinion.About the 16th of May some of our men started drifting back from various hospitals where they had been recovering from wounds or sickness. We were very glad to see them come back. Also, we received a number of replacements during the month. We were slowly but surely coming up to our quota of full strength and plus two percent over strength.We lost a few officers during the month Capt. John F. Leahy, Co. B Commander, was transferred, at his own request, to the 114th Infantry Regiment, 44th Infantry Division. We lost Lt. Frank P. Diliberto to the 42nd Infantry Division. Capt. James A. Touey was lost to the battalion when he had to go to the hospital. We wish them all the best of luck.Many of the officers and enlisted men visited different parts of Germany and Austria during the month. Worms, Heidelberg, Augsberg, Weisbaden, and many other cities were visited in Germany, and quite a few of the men and officers had the unique experience of drinking beer in Hitlers old beer hall in Munich. In Austria, excursions were made to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Oberammergau, Innsbruck, and the Brenner Pass. A never failing source of wonder among some of the men is the fact that show remains on these Tyrolean Alps all the year round while it is so not in some of the villages.There were other recreational projects carried on during the month. Movies were shown in the Leitner Theater in Fhrwald, and once we had the orchestra from the 44th Division entertain us. There was, also, a cable car that runs to the top of Zugspitz (our mountain) from Fhrwald. A quota was given to us to go to the top of the mountain twice a week for skiing, photography, exploration and a general good time. There was, also, a cable car in operation on the mountain at Innsbruck and several of the men each week went there for a sightseeing trip.On the 29th of May, Lt. Hill, S-2, was sent to Augsburg to the Headquarters of the Seventh Army to pick up orders pertaining to the battalion. The information was that we were going back to the States before being redeployed. There were additional instructions about replacements, supplies, etc. The only thing that was missing was the question---WHEN? None of us know there was a lot of rumors at the time ranging from one week to six months. We were ready to go anytime. Our equipment was up to par and our replacements were nearly so. This matter of waiting was so much harder than actual battle.During the month we had visits by Gen. Dean, Commanding General of the 44th Infantry Division, who presented the Bronze Star to our Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Spettel. We were also visited by Dr. Wolf, Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan, and Major Fwing, Medical Intelligence Officer, who was touring the battle area inspecting war damage and interrogating prisoners.On the 19th of May a very impressive presentation ceremony was held by the battalion: three Silver Stars and about fifty Bronze Stars were presented to members of the battalion.This winds up the narrative for this month. When we write the next one, we hope it can bear the date life America. In the meantime we are just waiting.1 June to 20 August 1945Well, here we are again back in the Land of the Free and no one need ask us if we are glad to be back; that goes without saying.The end of the last section of the narrative left us in Lermoos, Austria, on the 31st of May 1945. Lets look back about two and one-half months and see what has happened since then.On the 5th of June the Battalion was relieved from attachment to the 44th Infantry Division, whose headquarters were in Innsbruck, Austria. Several officers went down to Innsbruck to make contact with different sections of the headquarters of the 103rd Division.On the 9th of June, Lt. Col. Spettel, with two enlisted men left for a short leave to the Riviera. Maj. Koch assumed command of the battalion in the absence of Col. Spettel.On the 12th of June our headquarters received movement orders for Camp Lucky Strike, France. We were to move as soon as possible, so all preparations were speeded up; all plans and arrangements were made and on the 14th of June at 0800, Headquarters and Headquarters Co. with Service Co. left Lermoos by motor convoy. Companies A, B, C, and D left Germisch-Partenkirchen by train at 0830. The truck convoy arrived at Ulm, Germany, at 1500 the same day after a good trip of 110 miles. The train arrived in Ulm at 2330 the same day. The next day, June 15, the truck convoy traveled from Ulm to Metz arriving at 1830, distance covered, 274 miles. The train left Ulm at 0030 on June 15, and arrived in Karlsruhe at 2345. On the 16th of June the truck convoy traveled 170 miles to Soissons and the train traveled from Karlsruche to Bar Le Duc. The truck convoy arrived in Camp Lucky Strike on June 18 at 1000.So, we came back to Lucky Strike! It was somewhat different than the camp at which we landed that cold, rainy night in February. There were more tents there and more troops. The mines and barbed wire entanglements were almost cleared out and German prisoners of war were cooking our food for us.The following nine long, dreary days waiting for a boat to take us home. It was very hot in Normandy in June and nobody felt like doing anything. A convoy or two took sightseers up to Dieppe and some of the men again visited Maromme to renew old acquaintances.We left Camp Lucky Strike on the 26th of June and boarded the S.S. Sea Robin at Le Harve. The boat was a C-3 cargo ship which had been converted to carry troops. It was a pleasure to walk up the gangplank, however, it was very difficult for some of the men because of the enormous weight of their duffle bags. At last we were all aboard and fairly comfortable. The ship pulled away from the dock at 1920.We were at sea until the 5th of July. There were about 2600 men on board and we had the usual run of seasickness, although it was not as bad as the trip going over to France. There were good recreational facilities on board and the P.X. operated efficiently. Of course, everyone was anxious to get back so the trip seemed longer than it world normally. We had a very pleasant trip across and nothing out of the ordinary happened.We arrived in Hampton Roads, Virginia, early in the morning of July 5th and steamed up to Newport News, Virginia, where we docked at 0700. We then debarked and boarded trains which took us to Camp Patrick Henry. At this camp, which everyone agreed was a model of efficiency, we were given our Welcome Home Dinner which consisted of all the cold, fresh milk we could drink, steaks, potatoes, gravy, salads, and ice cream. It was a grand reception to the U.S.A.The next day, July 6th, men were separated into groups according to the separation center to which they belonged and were sent to them. Our battalion had men to go to each of the 21 separation centers in the United States.From July 8th to August 8 10th there must of necessity be a gap in our narrative. All of our troops were home on a much needed and well deserved 30 day leave.About August 10th groups of men and officers started to arrive in Camp Sheoby, Mississippi, our reorganization station. Everyone professed to have had a wonderful time and expressed themselves as ready to continue the joys of civilian life.Work around the battalion area has occupied us until the present time, August 20th. We have been cleaning up the area and getting our barracks in livable shape.We have, here at Camp Shelby, our quota of new tanks, including some M-26 heavy tanks with the 90-mm gun.Everyone was overjoyed at the news of Japanese surrender and immediately started sweating out the possibility of going to Japan for occupation.The latest flash that we have as we write this last line is that San Francisco, California, is our next port of embarkation.21 August to 20 September 1945This bit of narrative will take us up to the end of our story, because 20 September 1945 is the second birthday of our battalion and as good a place to stop as any.Our biggest subject of conversation and conjecture during this period was getting out of the army either on points or age. Some few unfortunates even tried to get out on a form of dependency. Whats the matter, fellas!, dont you like the army? To date, however, very few men have been released from our outfit either on points or on age.On 4 September we were officially relieved from alert status and everyone began to breathe normally again when it became evident we would not go overseas again as a battalion.The great emphasis in training during this period was on sports. All possible facilities for sports and recreation were furnished to the battalion. We even had a boxing team which performed magnificently doe to the efforts of Capt. Wilfred Petit and Lt. Wesley H. Grans.We had a cracker-jack softball team, too, composed of the best players to be found in the battalion. We had tennis teams, horse shoe teams and ping-pong teams. We also had poker teams whose activities were strictly after duty hours. The only thing we didnt have was a tiddle-de-winks championship and jumping frog contests.Early in September plans were made for a birthday celebration for the battalion. We would be two years old, officially, on 20 September 1945. This day fell on Thursday and we were to be given a program in the morning and a half-day holiday in the afternoon.The great day dawned bright, clear and hot and I do mean HOT! After several speeches and band selections and the presentation of a Croix-De-Guerre to Capt. James L. Higgins, we started our games. We had a softball game with the runners up of the past tournament and then four boxing matches between men of our own battalion. Then everyone sat down to a holiday dinner and got up groaning comfortably. Afterward, came the half-holiday which carried the day and our narrative to a successful conclusion.
This page was updated: Wednesday, 08-Apr-2009 20:22:51 CDT
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