7th Armored Division CCB (AAR) August 1944 (France)

0
60


lucky-7Headquarters CCB
7th Armored Division
APO 257, c/o PM NY NY
September 3 1944

Subject : Battle Report

To : Commanding General
7th Armored Division
c/o PM New York, New York

1. In compliance with Administrative Memorandum #31, Headquarters 7th Armored Division, 21 July 1944 paragraph 2 and request Commanding General 7th Armored Division the following “Battle Report” is submitted.

2. During the Battle of France, the Combat Command Headquarters has functioned as a tactical headquarters in much of the capacity of the Standard Brigade headquarters.

3. The Combat Command is commanded by Brig Gen John P. Thompson, O-3741, USA.

4. The narrative history of the Combat Command during the Battle of France follows : CCB was initially assembled in tactical bivouac in the vicinity of Lessay, France. The troops making the CCB task force were landed over Omaha Beach and Utah Beach and the complete Combat Command assembled to function tactically Aug 12, 1944 composition as follows :

HQs & HQs Co CCB
31st Tank Battalion
434th Armored Field Artillery Bn
23rd Armored Infantry Bn
33rd Armored Engineer Bn (B Company)

American_tank_in_Carentan

[restrict]
CCB as constituted moved in single march column via Périers, Saint-Sauveur-Lendelin, Coutances, Gavray, La Haye-Pesnel, Avranches, Saint-Aubin-de-Terregatte, Saint-Georges-de-Reintembault, Louvigné-du-Désert and established their bivouac. Moved from bivouac and marched in single column via Laval, Bonchamp-lès-Laval, La Chapelle-Rainsouin, Châtres-la-Forêt, Evron and bivouaced. The composition of CCB was altered in this position in preparation for an attack to the North East composition as follows :

HQs& HQs Co CCB
31st Tank Bn
434th Armored Field Artillery Bn
23rd Armored Infantry Bn
(B Co) 33rd Armored Englineer Bn
(B Co) 774th Tank Destroyer Bn
and attached after passing thru, 317-RCT (80-ID)

The attack was canceled as well as the attachment of B-774-TDB and 117-RCT (30-ID). The Combat Command was moved from Evron in a single column via Assé-le-Bérenger, Rouessé-Vassé, Crissé, La Ferté-Bernard, Courgenard, Saint-Ulphace, Beaumont-les-Autels, Thiron-Gardais, Happonvilliers, Courville-sur-Eure. Command Post was established when resistance encountered in Courville-sur-Eure. Contact with enemy was made Aug 14 1944. Task force commanded by Lt Col Allison entered Courville-sur-Eure Aug 15 1944 after enemy resistance of infantry and Anti-Tank guns was reduced. All resistance ceased at 0630 Aug 15 1944. Combat Command direction of movement altered to the east axis of advance Courville-sur-Eure, Chartres, Albis, Dourdan, Arpajon.

CCB moved via above route in two (2) Forces under command of Lt Col Allison and Lt Col Erlenbusch. Enemy resistance encountered on the outskirts of small villages surrounding Chartres. Enemy defenses of Chartres consisted of sporadic mine fields, 3,000 troops, including one Flak Battalion and scattered Anti-Tank strong points estimated number of Anti-Tank guns including calibers of 20-MM and 88-MM AAA. Heavy Anti-Tank Mortar, machine gun and scattered artillery pieces and rifle fire and bazooka strong points were encountered in the 3 days battle.

The Battle of Chartres consisted of one coordinated night attack by 2 forces. Force 1 under Lt Col Allison attacking east from northwest side of the town. Force 2 under Lt Col Erlenbusch attacking northeast from the south of the town. The entire attack receiving artillery support from 434-AFAB under Lt Col Dubuisson. Force 1 penetrated enemy defenses with infantry and established a CP within the northeast quarter of the town. Force 2 encountered heavy Anti-Tank fire in small towns of Luce and Luisant but penetrated to Chartres but failed to maintain continuity of the attack due to heavy losses and inability of tanks to fight in the very narrow streets of the old town of Chartres.

The infantry of Force 1 remained in the town but Force 2 withdrew to regroup. The second attack of Chartres took place on Aug 17 1944 with same composition of troops but with additional artillery support from XX Corps Artillery. All efforts were made to spare destruction of historical buildings in the town of Chartres by XX Corps Commanders order. Only point targets were to be engaged under observation. The troops of the Combat Command encircled Chartres with troops occupying the northeast quarter of town and troops in position north, northeast, southeast, south and Main Supply Route (MSR) running south of the town. Chartres garrison held positions facing the encirclement in depth from high ground outside the city to the buildings in the outer edges of the town. The coordinated attack was successful and apparently resistance was reduced. The fact that Chartres was a report station for disorganized and beaten units and stragglers from the surrounded and battered units on the western front caused the garrison to be reinforced by an estimated 200 – 300 men per 24 hour period. This fact accounted for the severe third attack on Aug 18 1944 which annihilated the garrison in Chartres.

The Germans lost 1800 killed, wounded and missing; 400 prisoners and all vehicles, weapons, material, airfield with 30 – 40 destroyed fighters, and ammunition dumps destroyed on captured. Some German troops escaped via secret routes to other report stations.

The final composition of CCB was as follows at the conclusion of the Battle of Chartres.

Headquarters and Headquarters Co CCB
434th Armored Field Artillery Bn
31st Tank Bn
23rd Armored Infantry Bn
38th Armored Infantry Bn
179th Engineer Combat Bn (less 1 company)
33rd Armored Engineer Bn (B Co)
814 Tank Destroyer Bn (B Co)
77th Medical Bn (B Co)
Supporting XX Corps Artillery

On the night of the Aug 18 1944, CCB regrouped and moved in single column via Chartres.

7-AD-009-1

Orders were received by the Combat Command to move via Chartres – Châteauneuf-en-Thymerais, Dreux, and there to establish bridgehead north of Dreux to protect the supply lines of the XIX Corps. Movement from the Area east of Chartres began at 2350 Aug 18 1944 in one column with CCB and a company of the 814th Tank Destroyer Bn. Head of column reached Châteauneuf at 0257 Aug 19 1944 and closed in bivouac at Cherisy at 0930 Aug 19 1944. The 23rd Armored Infantry Bn and the 31st Tank Bn outposted both east and west flanks north of Dreux. Road blocks established in all avenues of approach within our sector. Tight enemy resistance encountered and driven back of Out Post Line. At 0530, Aug 20, this command took over the bridgehead formally occupied by CCA. Command Post moved west of Cherisy but moved back again to original position after coming under artillery fire. CCB placed in XX Corps reserve at 1620 Aug 21.

Movement to Rambouillet in one column began at 2200 Aug 21. At 0700, Aug 22, in assembly area 2 miles west of Rambouillet with 774th Tank Destroyer Bn attached. Orders from XX Corps to move at once via Limours, Courcouronnes, Melun. Left present area at 1535 Aug 22, by passed Corbeil-Essonnes to the south and arrived Bondoufle on Aug 23 at 0025. Received Division Field Order #5. Movement in one column started at 2030 Aug 23 to Mennecy via Bondoufle, Vert-le-Grand, Vert-le-Petit, Ballancourt-sur-Essonne. Head of column closed in bivouac 1 mile northwest of Mennecy at 1740. Notified by Division to follow CCA across Seine River, proceed thru the CCA bridgehead, attack and capture that part of Melum of river. Reverted to 7th Armored Division at 2002. At 0200 Aug 24, Field Order #5 Headquarters CCB given to command. Composition of forces as follows :

Force 1 (Allison) : 23-AIB, B/33-AEB, A/434-AFAB
Force 2 (Erlenbusch) : 31-TB
Combat Command Trps : HQs Co CCB, 434-AFAB (-), 774-TDB (- 1 Co)
Trains : Trains, B/77-AMC, 1 Co 129 Ord

CCB crossed the Seine River into Combat Command sector, CCR frontal attack of Melum 1730 Aug 24. CCB received orders to take Melum by dawn. On Aug 25, attack jumped off at 0200 held up until 0400 by hasty mine fields. Infantry assault passed through tanks and were in Melum at 0715. 23-AIB mopped up small pockets of resistance during most of day and out posted town of Melun. Also on Aug 25, received Division Order to move East in the direction of Tours. 23-AIB attempted to move through Melun but were held up by 81-MM mortar fire. Attack begun at 0630 artillery concentration was laid down on enemy position east of Melun.

Force 1 proceed axis of advance to Nangis. Force 1 proceed south within our zone cleaning out all enemy before them, coordinating with Force 2. Force 1 ran into an AT gun fire 1 mile east of Melun, 2 half-tracks knocked out but overcame resistance pushed on to vicinity of Châtillon-la-Borde from south and knocked out 4 AT guns. Both forces pushed on to approximately 4 miles east of Nangis. CCB given order to push north to Reims splitting into 3 forces. Aug 27, head of column moved at dawn to 2 miles east of Vulaine-lès-Provins halted by Anti-Tank and machine gun fire. Proceeded to move north to bypass Provins. Moved north passed through town of Sézanne and halted in march column 5 miles north of Sézanne. CCB was then divided into 3 forces and to move north on parallel routes.

On Aug 28, vehicles were gassed and moved out at 0730. Moved along axis of advance Soizy-aux-Bois, Le Petit Morin, Baye, Montmort-Lucy encountering small pockets of resistance. Knocked out 4 AT guns south of the town, entered Epernay at 1800 tanks leading followed by infantry commanded by Lt Col Allison. Tanks got as far as bridge over the Marne River but were halted by heavy AT gun fire and bridge was blown by enemy electric mines. Command held in Epernay until 0700 Aug 29 moved out of Epernay and crossed Marne on pontoon bridge at Port à Binson. Forces were halted all along the way due to running together of different units and columns. Marched all night arriving in Warmeriville where enemy resistance was encountered. Warning orders were received from Commanding General 7th Armored Division to prepare to move to Verdun. Notified to reconstitute command less CCR and move to assembly area vicinity west of Pontfaverger-Moronvilliers. 1300 Field Order #9 Headquarters 7th Armored Division notified CCB to advance east in multiple columns prepared to reinforce left flank guard of Division.

Seize bridgehead over the Meuse River in route of its advance. Force A under Lt Col Erlenbusch ran out of gas 6 miles west of Monthois 0600 Aug 31. All efforts was being made to supply gas to this force, Force B at Autry, Force C, tail of column Force B. Force C was sent along a northern route to try to obtain crossings of ford at the Aisne River; successful obtaining ford at Vaux-lès-Mouron. After crossing ford 2 blown bridges and mines were encountered east of Vaux-lès-Mouron, reconnaissance was made up and down river, no bridges or fords disclosed and force was withdrawn to vicinity Bouconville. Force B after vigorous reconnaissance located bridge site east of Autry. 2 squads of engineers (B Co 33-AEB) committed to form; bridgehead relieved by infantry at 1645 (A Co 23-AIB) Bridge company arrived approximately 1750. Reconnaissance crossed bridge at 2030 (A/87) 1 platoon on each of 2 routes, 1 platoon reserve. 1 platoon in reserve. Reconnaissance moves quickly as possible to Aire River to reconnoiter for and secure bridges Chatel-Chéhéry. Column A (Erlenbusch) followed reconnaissance across bridge and moved into assembly position on north route. Column C (Johanson) to follow. Column B (Allison) across bridge and go into assembly position on northern route. Reconnaissance disclosed all bridges blown across the Aire River. Columns A and C moved out of respective routes ready to cross river soon as fords or bridges were located by reconnaissance.

No officers or enlisted men distinguished themselves in this command.
Technician 5th Grade Earl D. Applegarth, 35375098 was killed in action 26 August 1944 1½ miles west of Nangis.
For the Commanding General :
(signed) – WILLIAM W. ROSEBRO, JR
Lt Col, Infantry,
Executive Officer

Thank-You-Veterans

[/restrict]



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.