The scientist Geoffrey Pyke, a member of the British Combined Operations Command, envisioned the creation of a small, élite military force capable of fighting behind enemy lines in winter conditions. To create a commando unit that could be landed, by sea or air, to occupied Norway, Romania, and the Italian Alps on sabotage missions of hydroelectric plants and oil fields. In Norway, the chief industrial threat was the creation, at Rjukan, of the heavy water used in the German atomic weapon research. In Romania were the strategically important Ploesti oil fields that met most of the Germans’ needs, and Italian hydroelectric plants powered most of south German industry. Pyke added that a tracked vehicle be developed, especially for the unit, capable of carrying them and their equipment at high speed across snow-covered terrain. In March 1942 Pyke proposed his idea, which he had named Project Plough, to Lord Louis Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations Hqs that Allied commandos be parachuted into the Norwegian mountains to establish a base on the Jostedalsbreen, a large glacier plateau, for guerrilla actions against the German army of occupation. These troops would be equipped with Pyke’s proposed snow vehicle. Pyke persuaded Mountbatten that such a force would be invulnerable in its glacier strongholds and would tie down large numbers of German troops trying to dislodge it. However, given the demands upon both Combined Operations and British Industry, it was decided to offer it instead to the US at the Chequers Conference of March 1942. Gen George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, accepted the suggestion for Project Plough and since no suitable vehicle existed, in April 1942 the US government started asking automobile manufacturers to look into such a design. Studebaker subsequently created the T-15 cargo carrier, which later became the M-29 Weasel.
In May 1942 the concept papers for Plough were scrutinized by Lt Col Robert T. Frederick, a young officer in the Operations Division of the US General Staff. His report identified many drawbacks with it, including the unit’s organization and how it was to withdraw once its mission had been completed. The first officer picked to lead the unit, Lt Col H. R. Johnson, resigned as soon as he met the eccentric Pyke. His replacement was suggested by Mountbatten and assigned by Eisenhower : Col Frederick himself was given the task of creating a fighting unit for Project Plough and was promoted to colonel to command it, and by July 1942 had eased Pyke out of the picture. Colonel Frederick enjoyed a very high priority in obtaining equipment and training areas. Originally it had been intended due to its winter warfare mission that the unit should be equally made up of American, Canadian, and Norwegian troops. However, a lack of suitable Norwegians saw this changed to half US and half Canadian. In July 1942 the Canadian Minister of National Defense approved the assignment of 697 officers and enlisted men for the project under the initial disguise that they were forming the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion (1-CPB). Shortly after, due to the decision to raise a parachute school in Canada under the 1-CPB designation, the Canadian volunteers served under the unofficial designation of 2-CPB. This was in name only, the 2-CPB did not legally exist. The Canadians would not be legally made into a unit of the Canadian Army until April-May 1943 under the official designation, 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion. They would be paid by the Canadian government but be supplied with uniforms, equipment, food, shelter and travel expenses by the US. They also remained subject to their own army’s code of discipline. The US volunteers for the force consisted initially of officers from Fort Belvoir and Benning and enlisted men recruited by advertising at Army posts, stating that preference was to be given to men previously employed as lumberjacks, forest rangers, hunters, game wardens, and the like. Frederick then named this force the First Special Service Force.
(bellow) : (left) Maj Gen Geoffrey Keyes (CG US II Corps) with Lt Gen Mark Wayne Clark (CG US V Army) and Brig Gen Robert T. Frederick (right), CO of the 1st Special Service Force, outside Rome in early June 1944
Bataljon 99 – 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate)
In 1942, the United States Army eagerly awaited combat with the Germans. Many senior American officers and civilian leaders considered it a moral obligation to open a Second Front to relieve pressure on the Soviet Union as quickly as possible. Nazi-occupied Norway was a favorite target of some planners. In January 1942, Winston Churchill pushed hard for Operation Jupiter, a landing in far northern Norway. This operation would capture the bases used by the air and surface raiders then attacking the convoys to Murmansk. Operation Sledgehammer, a wide-ranging plan for many landings in Europe, also foresaw operations in Norway. The Norwegian segment, called Operation Plough, featured large-scale commando raids rather than a full invasion. King Haakon of Norway and his exiled ministers opposed the large-scale economic devastation of their country, and preferred that the Germans be driven out completely with a conventional assault.
Movements – 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate)
The 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) left Camp Hale, Colorado, by train heading for Camp Shanks, in New York and the Port of Embarkation for the ship line to Europa. The men received their new uniforms and overseas equipment as well as their vaccination shots.
On September 5, the entire battalion boarded a small 6000 dwt cargo ship, the USS Mexico, and left Hoboken, New York, Port of Embarkation as a part of a transatlantic convoy. On September 15, the Norwegians 99er arrived in Scotland, disembarked and moved to the Camp in the Perham Dows area located in the vicinity of Salisbury.
During the month of January, February and March, the 99er conducted intensive trainings with their battalion weapons, intensive marches were also exercised until the end of March when the battalion moved to Wales, Glenusk Park Camp, in the vicinity of Crickhowell and Abergavenny.
During this period, the battalion’s members were assigned to take over the guard the US 1 Army HQ in Bristol.
May 1 1944
During May, the battalion was in Ludly, Hereford.
On June 10, the 99-IB(S) was alerted for immediate movement to Uffculme (Plymouth). On the 14, the battalion arrived in Plymouth and prepared for overseas movement. The 17, the Battalion boarded the USS John Henry and headed for Normandy, France. Because of really bad weather conditions, the crossing took long time, June 18, 19 and 20. The 21, the 99 disembarked in Normandy on Omaha Beach. Facing again bad weather conditions, June 20, 21 and 22 were spent offshore in the front of Saint-Pierre-du-Mont, Omaha Beach, and the landing of the battalion was not effected until the evening of the 22. The Battalion spent its first night in France in the Transit Area #3 in the vicinity of Colombières. On June 23, the 99er en-trucked and moved from Transit Area #3 to Colombières where the unit was attached to the Provisional Ranger Group of the 1-A. The 29, the 99 moved from Colombières to Saint-Joseph in the Cherbourg Peninsula and on June 30, the unit was again moved, from Saint-Joseph to Cherbourg, and became attached to the 4th Port Headquarters
Since June 30, and until July 8, the 99 remained attached to the 4th Port Headquarters, securing the city of Cherbourg and guarding various military installations. The Norwegians were relieved from the assignment to the 4th Port Headquarters and moved to Hameau de Haut, which was located 8 miles South of Cherbourg. On July 25, (since July 8) the 99er in conjunction with Darby’s Rangers (2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions) reinforced by the 759th Light Tank Battalion patrolled an area between Cherbourg and Valognes. In addition, the security patrols also checked the area for enemy material, ammunition, and casualties. During the period, field fire exercises, primarily German weapons, were conducted on the beach at Biville, which is located 15 miles West of Cherbourg.
From July 25 to August 6, the 99 conducted night firing, field problems at Teurthéville – Hague, which is located 10 miles Southwest of Cherbourg. On August 7, 8, 9 and 10, the 99 was located at Mesnil-Herman, 10 miles Southwest of St Lo, where training was coordinated with the 759th Light Tank Battalion. August 11, 12 and 13 were spent in the defense of Buais. On August 14, the 99 was attached to the 2-AD and assigned to CCB. On August 18, the 99er, attached to 2-AD were trained to operate as armored infantry with the 41st Armored Infantry Battalion. On August 19, the 99 moved with the 2nd Armored Division Reserve to Lessay which was located 15 miles Northwest of Alençon and went into bivouac for the night. On August 20, being into the 2-AD Reserve, the 99 moved to Tourouvre, 10 miles Northwest of Mortagne-au-Perche, and established several road blocks. Upon completion of the battalions road blocks some were heavily shelled by German artillery. One August 21, the 99 suffered casualties : 2 EM KIA, one officer and ten other enlisted men were WIA. On August 22, the 99 moved to Biet and established several road blocks and on the 23, the 99 moved to Le Failly but was forced to withdrew, facing a company of Germans. The town was later captured by 2nd Armored Division Reserve, and 150 prisoners were captured. August 24, saw the 99 moving to Cesseville, 12 miles South of Elbeuf, where the battalion set up road blocks. Another 14 POWs were added to the account of the 99er. On August 25, The 2-AD Reserve was alerted for an attack of the woods immediately south of the town of Elbeuf and on August 26, at 0600 a counterattack was launched by the enemy on the northwest section of Elbeuf but was driven off by fire from the TDs. At 1147 the battalion command post was shelled and the Battalion CO Lt Col Turner was wounded and evacuated. The Executive Officer, Maj Harold D. Hansen took over the command of the battalion. At 1700, all organized small arms resistance ceased, and artillery and mortar fire was still being fired on the town from the north side of the Seine River. At 1800 the battalion was relieved by the 4th Canadian Armored Division and moved to Saint-Croix de Martin. Casualties : 7 EMs KIA, nine officers and forty-one enlisted men WIA. August 27, the battalion moved to Poey sur Eure, on August 28, crossed the Seine River and moved to Saint-Martin-la-Renne. The battalion was assigned to CCA, 2nd Armored Division and on August 30, established its Command Post in the town of Villers-en-Arthies after heavy fights. Battalion was relieved from attachment to the 2nd Armored and became attached to the 7th Armored Group, XIX Corps Reserve. On August 31, the battalion moved to an assembly area near Drocourt for a rest period.
On September 6, the 99 was alerted and moved from La Glanerie, France to Mons, Belgium with the mission of securing the city. Upon arrival road blocks were set up and the city patrolled. On September 8, the 99 moved from Mons, Belgium back to France in Valenciennes for the purpose of securing the First US Army sector against an probable attack by an enemy pocket in the British sector to the north and west of Valenciennes. On the 12, the 99 was released from attachment to the 7th Armored Group and re-attached to 2nd Armored Division at 1700. September 13, saw the 99er en-trucking and moving to Lerinpt in the vicinity of Saint-Trond, Belgium. Later that day, at 1800, the unit moved again to reach Winterslag where they secured the city and railway bridge. On September 14, at 0645, Able and Baker Cos were attached to CCA 2-AD. At 1345, the 99, less A and B Cos moved to Walterscheide and moved again at 1830 to the vicinity of Mechelen. The 15, Charlie Co was attached to the 2/66-AIR and moved to secure Reckheim at 1700. At 1500, the unit was assembled and orders issued to attack east of the Zuid Willems Vaart Canal. The 16, at 1700, Charlie Co moved out with 5 light tanks and 6 medium tanks. At 2000, Able, Baker and Dog Cos moved across the Zuid Willems Vaart canal to support the attack of Charlie Co. Objective reached at 2200 that same day. Casualties : 1 Officer and 1 EM KIA, another Officer and 12 enlisted men were WIA. The 17, at 0700, the 99 continued the attack with Baker and Charlie Cos leading, Dog Co in support of the leading elements and Able Co held in battalion reserve. Armors from the 66-AIR supported the attack. All objectives were reached at 1600. On September 18, Able, Charlie Cos reinforced with George and How Cos 66-AIB continued the attack at 0700 and seized objectives at 1700. Final objective was secured at 1800. The 99 was released from 2-AD while Baker Co, 744th Light Tank Battalion was assigned to battalion. During the period September 18 to September 28, the 99 front line was reinforced by three hundred Belgian Fusiliers. On the evening of the 19 then morning of the 20, Belgian patrols reported heavy enemy traffic from Maaseik to Rothem and Dilsen. Enemy counterattack was expected but fire of the 99’s 81-MM mortars, artillery support from the right flank and from the British, left flank, discouraged the counterattack. The enemy withdrew to the vicinity of Roermond. On September 28, the 99 was relieved by the 7th Armored Division then moved to the vicinity of Mechelen. September 29, the 99 was relieved from assignment to the XIX Corps became attached to the First Army, left Mechelen and moved by truck to the vicinity of Eupen and on September 30, the Vikings established a bivouac in the vicinity of Montzen.
The 99 was attached to XIX Corps and moved, on October 10, to Marienberg, Germany as Corps Reserve. On the 16, the battalion moved to a forward assembly area in the vicinity of the railway station Wurselen (Aachen – North) and prepared to attack the following day. On October 17, the 99er were attached to the 30th Infantry Division. Reinforced by the 116th Infantry Regiment (less one battalion) and 3/66-AIR attacked all along the line at 0600. Charlie Co (less one platoon) moved forward to make physical contact with units left and right. the battalion held its positions except for Able Co which, at 1600, was counter-attacked and driven from their positions by two enemy tanks and approximately 50 riflemen. Able Co made several attempts to out flank the enemy and finally got back into the battalion sector, reorganized and at 2000 moved back into their positions. On the 18, the 99er maintained contact with 1/116-IR and 2/18-IR. Enemy counterattacked in the vicinity of Haarenheidchen (South of Wurselen) with five tanks and approximately 100 infantrymen but no ground was lost. On the 19, Charlie Co attached to the 2/116-IR advanced slightly and 9 POWs were added to the Prisoner’s War cage. The following casualties were sustained, 1 EM KIA, 5 EMs WIA. During the period of October 20, 21 abd 22, Charlie Co was still attached to the 2/116-IR. Baker Co was attached to the 3/120-IR. Able and Dog Cos were in reserve of the 116-IR. No attack was made during the three days. Another 25 POWs added to the cage. Casualties were 4 EMs KIA, 4 EMs MIA, 3 Officers and 17 EMs WIA. During the 23, the 99 held its present positions until 2000 when Charlie Co was relieved by Easy 2/116-IR. 6 POWs more in the cage. Casualties for the day were 1 Officer KIA, 3 EMs WIA. On October 24, at 1730, the 99-ID-(S) was relieved by elements of the 116-IR and 119-IR. The men were moved out to the vicinity of Bardenberg and were relieved from its attachment to the 30-ID. October 29, 1500, battalion moved from Bardenberg, Germany to Henri Chapelle, Belgium and on the 30 and 31, days were spent in drawing supplies, maintenance and administrative details.
Reports of Activities, 99th Infantry Battalion (S), November 1944
During the period November 1 – November 19, the 99 was billeted in the vicinity of Henri Chapelle and a training program was set up including firing of weapons and training films. On November 20, one platoon of Able Co moved to the vicinity of Saint-Hubert, Belgium, to guard two enemy ammunition dumps. On November 25, the battalion, less Able Co, moved to Tilff, Belgium, with the mission of security of Army Service installations against any enemy airborne attack, infiltration tactics and guerrilla warfare. Main Supply Route (MSR) W was patrolled by Baker and Charlie Cos to insure the constant flow of supplies through Army area. Able Co (less one platoon) moved also to the vicinity of Saint-Hubert and patrolled the Main Supply Routes X, Y, and Z. On the 30, the battalion took over the guarding of railroad bridges designated as vital installations.
During the period December 1 – December 17, the Viking Battalion less Able assigned in the area of Saint-Hubert, was located at Tilff. Part of the 99er patrolled the main supply road while men from Baker patrolled the railroad supply line and its vital bridges. Able was located in the vicinity of Marche-en-Famenne and Saint-Hubert and patrolled three main supply roads and guarded one huge German ammunition depot located in the outskirts of Saint-Hubert. At 1800, December 17, the battalion was alerted and proceeded from Tilff to Malmédy with the purpose of blocking the further advance of the Germans in that sector. Attached to the battalion was the 526th Armored Infantry Battalion (S) and Baker 825th Tank Destroyer Battalion to form Task Force Hansen. Because of the congested roads caused by the great quantity of personnel and material being evacuated from threatened areas, the progress of the column toward Malmédy was extremely slow. Col Harold D. Hansen CO-99 and Maj Wilford L. Bjornstad XO-99 proceeded ahead of the battalion an arrived in Malmédy at 2130. By this time the town had been evacuated by all military personnel with the exception of approximately 450 men from the 291-ECB, along with men from the Ordnance, the Military Police, the Evacuation Hospital Units, and other units (Col H. W. Anderson, 1111-ECG). This organization was given orders by Col Anderson to prepare to defend the city of Malmédy. The engineers had established road blocks consisting of mines and were prepared to destroy bridges and knockdown trees to further block the approaches of Malmédy. Baker 99 took a separated route and arrived in Malmédy at around midnight and immediately took up positions to the southwest of the city to block the roads and occupy the high ground commanding the approach to the town from the south. Form now on, the Norwegians Battalion got involved in the German Winter Offensive known today as the Battle of the Bulge. Actually, since many of the men spoke bad English, they were often arrested by the Americans who thought they were Germans.
On Sunday December 17 1944, Lt Col Harold D. Hansen, 99th Inf Bn (Sep), proceeded from Tilf to Malmédy in advance of troops when the situation in that sector was fluid and little information of enemy advances was available. It was known that the city of Malmédy was in direct line of the German thrust into our lines. Malmédy was completely bereft of forces on December 17, except for approximately sixty engineer troops. Lt Col Hansen made immediate personal reconnaissance of all likely routes of approach into the city. Reinforcements were slow in arriving due to congested condition of all highway leading into the city. Hansen immediately planned the defense and dispatched troops to road blocks and high ground around the city as fast as they became available. Hansen started from scratch and welded several separate attaches units into an efficient and coordinated combat team. Hansen obtained maps of the area only a few of which were available at the beginning of the period. Guides were provided to orient and lead reinforcements into position efficiently and with the minimum of confusion. The seriousness of the situation was specially dispatched to all troops and guards on road blocks were very efficient in the challenging of all persons and vehicles. Message centers, command posts, and communications were specially coordinated and installed. Defenses were prepared and in readiness for early Monday morning. Malmédy was successfully defended and kept from falling into the hands of the enemy.
Capt H. M. Nin
Co 99th Inf Bn (Sep) Acting
At 0300 the remainder of the battalion (less Able) arrived in Malmédy. Charlie 99 took positions to the northeast to block the road from Eupen, N-68. Able 526 and one platoon of the 825-TDB became detached from the Task Force Hansen and proceeded to Stavelot. Baker 526 and some TD guns blocked the approaches southwest of Malmédy, N-62. At 0530, Able 99 was alerted and moved on the double from Saint-Hubert also towards Malmédy. The column arrived at 1030 just outside of Stavelot but was unable to proceed through the town and continued, heading to Francorchamps, then proceeded from there to Malmédy. They arrived at 1130. At 1645 a Willys Jeep with tree Germans and two American POWs ridding on the hood approached the road block which was maintained by Baker 99. One of the Germans was shot trying to escape the other two were taken prisoner. At 1830 one battalion of the 117-IR as well as one battalion of the 120-IR arrived in Malmédy and went also in position. At 2110 four Krauts Paratroopers (Groupe Oberst Friedrich August Freiherr von der Heydte) were reported dropped one-half mile west of Malmédy.
December 19 1944
In the afternoon Baker 99 remained in position while the rest of the battalion withdrew one-half mile to the northwest of Malmédy and went into position as 120-IR reserve.
December 20 1944 : At 1700 Baker 99 captured two Germans on an motorcycle and killed two more approaching their positions.
December 21 1944
At 0655 the Germans tried to break trough road block of Baker 99 with a column of armor and infantry. The column consisted of 3 American jeeps, 1 half-track, 1 American M-8 armored car, 1 German Mark VI tank and 2 American medium tanks. Three of the lead vehicles hit some mines in front of the road block and at the same time were fired upon by the three 76.2 TD guns. Mortar and MG fire and all weapons of Baker were placed on the vehicles and personnel therein. Artillery fire was concentrated along the entire approaching column. The attack was repulsed and about 100 enemy were killed by small arms fire and artillery. Three POWs were taken. Two American jeeps and the M-8 armored car were recovered in usable condition. At 0915, 1 platoon of Able 99 was sent to investigate heavy small arms fire in the town of Burnenville. The remainder of the battalion moved to comb the woods and area west of Malmédy. No enemy was located in the area searched. By 1800, the disposition of the battalion was as follows Baker 99 in same position it had originally occupied southwest of Malmedy. Able 99 in Burnenville, Hqs, Charlie and Dog Cos in the vicinity Northwest of Malmedy.
IPW Team N° 46 – Headquarters 120th Infantry Regiment
(1930) 27 December 1944, Interrogation Report N° 107
Covering the period (2200) 26 to 27 December 1944.
Total of PW’s processed in period : 2. (PW’s NOs 3824,5); Units identified : 1 of 4.Kompanie, 11.Panzer-Regiment, 8.-Panzer-Division, 1 of HQ 1.Battalion, 293.VGR, 18. VGD.
Source of Information : 1 POW captured by Charlie Co 99-IBS vic (792020) at approx 1400 Dec 27. PW belonged to Hq 1.Bn, 293.VGR, 18.VGD
Unit History : the 18.VGD was activated in Danemark 4 months ago. 1.Battalion 293.VGR came here from Bleialf in the Schnee-Eifel. Battalion left Bleialf December 17 1944 and has been on the go on foot ever since. The Battalion arrived in Bellevaux (7700) at 2400 December 26. Circumstances of Capture : PW, originally of 3./293.VGR, was transferred into Security Sqd of 1.Bn Hq. Around 1200, December 27, this Sqd consisting of 7 men relieved SS-men in that position. They were on that road-block no longer than 1 hour when they were hit by out artillery barrage which was followed up by our infantry. POW didn’t know what had happened to the other 6 men of the Sqd. The Sqd was armed with 1 LMG and machine-pistols. Misc : POW saw no German positions on his way from Bellevaux to the road-block. He didn’t know what had become of the cos of the bn. He saw no tanks, no artillery pos in the vic, and wasn’t told by any minefield in the area. Knew nothing of the mission of bn. CO of 3./293.VGR : 1st Lt Brand.
December 29 1944
Information of Adjacent Troops – Patrol contact with Y 119-IR every half hour, physical contact with L 120-IR 24 hours. Weather and Visibility : Foggy during the evening in the valleys clear the remainder of the period. Our Operation for the Period : At 1200 it was reported that 2 men were digging in at 780029. Baker 99 sent out a patrol to investigate but no action was observed in the vicinity, however a soldier from the 30-ID was found hiding out in the woods. This soldier was turned over to Custer PT Team. At 1550 a few rounds of enemy artillery fell in already. The round fell in the vicinity of Melvin CP. Baker 99 raided the town of Otaimont at 1630. Artillery and mortar fire was used during guard after the raid. There were no enemy in the town or any indications that they had been dug in there. Three civilians in the town reported that the Germans had been in the town two days ago. During the raid at about 1645 the enemy fired red cluster signals from the vicinity of 783016. After this signal enemy mortar fire fell in the approaches to the town. Baker 99 men entered some of the buildings of the town but found no signs of them being occupied by the enemy. The Company withdrew about 1700. During the withdrawal the enemy fired about 18 rounds of rocket from an azimuth of about 105 degrees, azimuth taken from the CP. Baker 99 received only one casualty, which was shrapnel in the leg from enemy mortar fire. At 1615 a few rounds of 150-MM fell a short distance from CP killing one man. Combat Efficiency , Excellent. Results of Operation : No PW’s taken. One man wounded by shrapnel in the leg, not serious artillery.
January 1-2 1945
Front Lines : No change. Location of Troops : No change. Adjacent Units and Supporting Troops : Custer (30-ID) sent out two patrols. One went to the vicinity of 814018 and located three enemy machine guns, and approximately one platoon out posted. The patrol was fired upon at different points and was unable to take any PW’s. The second patrol got off its course and before they got oriented again it was getting light and the patrol returned without accomplishing its mission. Weather and Visibility : Mostly clear. Operations for the Period : Our front line troops continued to dig in and better their positions. Minefields were checked and a few additional mines laid. Combat Efficiency : Excellent. Results of Operation : No PW’s taken by this unit. Custer took three POWs from the 293.Volksgrenadier-Regiment, 18.Volksgrenadier-Division. No casualties received by this unit. Misc : At 1526 of December 31 our front line received 20 rounds of air bursts which later were confirmed as being our own artillery. At 0055 on January 1, one plane swooped down on Malmédy and passed over. At 0900, several German fighters were over this area, one was shot down and lit in the vicinity of 797057.
Subject. Report of IPW Information – To Crisis 2 – Ref. map, 1:10,000
Three PW’s from the 293.Volksgrenadier-Regiment (18.Volksgrenadier-Division) were captured today. Two were from the 6.Kompanie, one from the 5.Kompanie. They were captured at 758012 (map 1:25,000) in a dugout outpost position. They have occupied this position for the past week and a half. Relief exchanges occurred every four hours and upon being relieved the men rested in houses in Warche. Men on this outpost were armed only with rifles and machine pistols. The outpost consisted of fire foxholes, manned by four men in the daytime and eight at night. Main mission of outpost was to watch out for patrols. The 5.Kompanie and the 6.Kompanie have been thrown together and operate as one unit. The 6. is located at 758001 and their CP is in second house south of road at that point. The 5. is on east side of the river at Thioux, 761003. Some men of the 6. are believed to be in Chevofosse. Each company has about thirty men at present. Original strength of 6. was eighty men. They suffered heavy losses before being committed in this sector. The 7.Kompanie is deployed on the left of the combined 5. and 6. This 7. still has original strength, believed to be eighty men. There were three or four 75-MM infantry howitzers at edge of woods, 753997. There are four IME’s left with the remnants of the 6. One of them is set up at crossroad at 753005. The other three are put into position every night at same place POW’S were captured and are withdrawn shortly before daybreak. Three days ago the 6. still had four 81-MM mortars. At that time POWs claims they were taken to the rear to some unknown place. Two days ago the men of the 5. and 6. were told to pack all their equipment and be ready to move at a moment’s notice. One POW claims they started taking ammunition back at that time, which might account for an admitted general shortage of ammo for the past few days. Hot chow is received once a day around 1900. The 2nd Bn CP is in house that stands alone at 76399. The CO of 5. is Lt Wegnrt, who is wounded, the CO of 6. is Lt Kluke and the 2nd Bn Commander is Capt Bruns.
M/Sgt KULE, i/c
Jan 4 1945
January 2-6 1945
During this period, the battalion occupied front line defense positions on the outskirts of Malmédy. Patrol action was common and enemy artillery and rocket fire was fairly heavy. During the nights German combat troops dressed in white camouflage suits raided forward positions without success. These nuisance raids together with the cold of the foxholes served to exhaust the men more than did artillery fire or the lack of warm food. In the evening the battalion moved to the vicinity of Stavelot its old positions at Malmédy were taken over by elements of the 30-ID.
Secret : HQs 99th Infantry Battalion (Sep)
January 9 1945
Subject : Action Against Enemy, Reports After Action
To : The Adjutant General, Washington D.C. (thru channels)
On Sunday December 17 1944, the 99-IB-(S) (less Able Co) moved from Tilff to Malmédy for the purpose of blocking the further advance of the Germans in that sector. Attached to this battalion was the 526-AIB and Baker 825-TDB to form Task Force Hansen. Lt Col Harold D. Hansen, CO, 99-IB and Maj Wilford L. Bjornstad, XO, 99-IB, proceeded ahead of the battalion and arrived in Malmédy at 2130. By that time the town had been evacuated by all military personnel with the exception of approximately sixty men of the 291-ECB under the command of Lt Col Runkin. The engineers had established road blocks consisting of mines and were prepared to dynamite bridges and trees to further block the approaches to the town. Because of the congested roads caused by the great quantity of personnel and material being evacuated from the threatened areas, the progress of the column toward Malmédy was extremely slow. B Co 99-IBS took a separate route and arrived at the destination at approximately 2400. The company immediately took up positions to the southwest of town to block the roads and occupy the high ground commanding the approach to the town from the south.
At 0300, December 18, the remainder of the Task Force (less Able Co) arrived at the destination. Charlie 99 took positions to the northeast to block the road from Eupen. Able 526 and one platoon of TD’s was detached and proceeded to Stavelot. Baker 526 and TD guns blocked the approaches to the town from the southwest. Able 99 which had been occupied on guard duty around Saint-Hubert was assembled when alerted and at 0530, December 18, proceeded to Malmédy. The column arrived outside of Stavelot at 1030, was unable to proceed through Stavelot bypassed the town itself and headed into direction Spa up the next crossroad available (Francorchamps) then proceeded to Malmédy, arriving there about an hour later. At 1645, three Germans with two American prisoners riding on the hood of an American Jeep taken from the 106-ID approached the road block maintained by Baker 99. Trapped within shooting range, one of the Germans was shot while trying to escape and the two others were taken prisoner. POW’s were from the 1.SS-Panzer-Division. At 1830, one battalion of the 117-IR and one battalion of the 120-IR arrived in town and went into position. At 2110 four German Paratroopers were reported dropped one-half mile west of Malmédy. The afternoon of December 19, Baker 99 remained in position and west of the battalion withdrew one half-mile to the northwest of Malmédy and went into position as 120-ID reserve.
At 1700, December 20, men of Baker 99 captured two Germans riding a motorcycle then killed two more approaching their positions. On December 21, Baker 99 changes positions with Baker 120-IR. At 0655 (coordinates 77037) at road block number 5 held by Baker 99, the enemy tried to break through with a column of armor and infantry. The column consisted of three US Jeeps, one half-track, one American M-8, one German Mark VI tank, two Sherman tanks. Three of the lead vehicles hit our mines and at the same time were fired upon by out three inch tank destroyer guns. Mortar and MG fire and all weapons of Baker were placed on the vehicles and personnel therein. Artillery fire was concentrated along the entire column towards the rear. The attack was repulsed and about one hundred enemy infantry were killed by small arms fire and artillery. Three POW’s were taken, two from the 11.Fallschirmjaeger-Regiment, and one from the 1.SS-Panzer- Division. Two jeeps and one M-8 were recovered in usable condition. Prisoners stated that they had Tiger and Panther tanks as well as some American equipment. Their mission was to destroy our artillery positions; destroy the road block they attacked and capture Railroad crossing southeast of Malmédy
At 0915, one platoon of Able 99 was sent to investigate heavy small arms fire in the town of Burnenville. The remainder of the battalion moved to comb the woods and the area west of Malmédy. No enemy was located in the area searched. By 1800 that evening the disposition of the battalion was as follows : Baker in the same position it had originally occupied southwest of Malmédy, Able Co in Burnenville, HQs Co Charlie Co Dog Co in the vicinity of 786046. 2 90-MM guns, 1 40-MM AA gun, and two Quadruple 50 cal. AA guns, all from the 110th AAA gun battalion were also in this area. At this time one company (less one platoon) of the 740-TB was attached to Task Force Hansen and remained in the battalion area. At 2110, Custer (30-ID) reported the possibility of an enemy airborne attack during the night and all personnel were alerted. At 1600, December 27, Charlie Co supported by artillery from the 230th Field Artillery Bn raided the town of Hedomont. One POW was taken from the 193.VGR (18.VGD). An estimate of thirty enemy were killed during the raid.
At 1630, December 29, Baker Co supported by artillery and our 81-MM mortars attacked the town of Otaimont. No prisoners were taken. On December 30 Able Co took over Baker Co’s position on the front line and Charlie Co took over the sector on Baker Co’s left, formerly occupied by Love Co 120-IR. Baker Co was moved to Malmédy in mobile reserve. During the period 28-31 December patrolling was conducted and front line positions were improved by continued digging-in and laying of mines.
For the Commanding Officer :
January 10 1945
The first offensive action in the battalion new positions around the city of Stavelot took place this date. Enemy positions were attacked with marked success by the 2nd Platoon of Able Co and many Germans were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. Resisting violently with mortar and small arms fire, the enemy was driven from its positions and well camouflaged foxholes. The attack was in the nature of a raid and after driving the enemy back the unit withdrew.
January 11 1945
The 2nd Platoon of Able Co again attacked the same sector, which the enemy had re-occupied, but with less success as the previously day. Hand to hand fighting followed and the men were pinned down by concentrations of enemy mortar, machine gun and artillery fire. Almost surrounded, the platoon fought back savagely with grenade and bayonet until it had a chance to withdraw with only fair losses.
January 12 1945
Elements of the battalion once more attacked the same sector, Chevefosse, which, according to the prisoners, was strongly out posted and fortified to prevent patrols from infiltrating across the bridge into Thioux. On the same day the 119-IR attacked from the vicinity of Malmédy and across the battalions left front. The battalion supported the attack with heavy machine gun and 81-MM mortar fire. During the attack the enemy heavily shelled the battalions positions causing some casualties.
January 15 1945
The 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment attacking on the battalions right front, and the 119-IR attacking on the left front, finally squeezed the battalion out of the front line. Once again the battalion supported the attack with mortar and heavy machine gun fire and once again it sweated out the incoming barrage thrown by the desperate enemy.
January 17 1945
During the last previously two days the battalion maintained its positions in their sector and conducted patrols.
January 18 1945
After 31 days of continuous fighting, living in snowy foxholes at sub-zero temperatures and being under unrelenting artillery fire and observation by the enemy, the tired, bearded men of the battalion were formally relieved from their front line positions and moved out to Tilff.
January 22 1945
After three days of rest at Tilff, Belgium the battalion boarded a train for a long trip back towards the coast of France.
January 25 1945
After one trip of approximately 74 hours the battalion arrive in Barneville, France. There, the battalion joined another unit, the 474th Infantry Regiment. This regiment was composed of former paratroopers and rangers of the First Special Service Force which had distinguished itself at Anzio in Italy and in the invasion of southern France. Training here was designed to mold these proven combat units into an aggressive and efficient striking force to carry out the hazardous mission then in the offing. The 99th Infantry Battalion operated as individual battalion of the 474th Infantry Regiment (Separate). A steady round of tactical problems, firing exercises, use of new assault weapons and lectures went on week after week. Tanks and other armored vehicles were included in the regiment.
April 2 1945
The 474th Infantry Regiment (Separate) left Barnevile, France via truck and box-car for a 500 mile trip to Aachen, Germany where the final reorganization took place. The 99th Infantry Battalion made itself comfortable among the ruins, salvaging everything from mattresses to floor lamps and waited for the next order to move up.
April 11 1945
The battalion became temporarily separated from the 474th Infantry Regiment and traveled 300 miles into southeastern Germany to the town of Hertsfeld in the Third Army area. It was the battalions mission to patrol roads, woods, and towns, cleaning up pockets which had been by-passed by the rapidly advancing American Army. On the 21, the 99 which now was bivouacked in the woods located one mile from Eitersfeld moved to Heroldsbach (15 miles north of Nuremberg, Germany). By May 11 1945, the 99 was relieved from its clean up work in the Bavaria by elements of the 4th Infantry Division which occupied the territories secured by the 99. On May 13, the 99 was on his way back to France. The 14, Aschaffenberg. The 15, Verdun. The 16, Duclair (Rouen).
Troop Movement – 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) – 1945
January 2 1945 : Unit leaves Tilff, Belgium
January 25 1945 : Arrive at Barneville, France
April 2 1945 : Unit arrives at Aachen, Germany
April 11 1945 : Herzfeld, Germany
April 21 1945 : Heroldsbach, Germany
May 14 1945 : Aschaffenberg, Germany
May 15 1945 : Verdun, France
May 16 1945 : Duclair (Rouen), France
May 29 1945 : Le Havre, France
June 4 1945 : Drammen, Norway
June 5 1945 : Oslo, Norway
November 1 1945 : Boston, USA