35th Infantry Division (134-IR) – (AAR) – France – December 1944

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After Action Report
35th Infantry Division
December 1 1944 – December 31 1944.

The 35-ID, with the exception of one battalion, began the month of December 1944, its sixth month in combat during World War II, in Corps Reserve. Although rest, rehabilitation, and cleaning of weapons and equipment had a high priority, combat training classes were also conducted. Firing of weapons, assault of pillboxes, and the use of special assault equipment were included in the training.

The assembly areas for the regiments were as follows : the 1/137 and 2/137, were at Béning-lès-Saint-Avold, Bistroff, and Harprich, France while the 3/137 was assembled in the towns of Frémestroff, Altrippe and Leyviller, France, with the mission of protecting the division’s northern flank. The 134-IR assembled its troops in Lixing-lès-Saint-Avold, Vahl-Ebersing, Lelling and Biding, the 320-IR being at Pontpierre, Guessling-Hémering and Vahl-lès-Faulquemont. The division’s period in Corps Reserve during December, however, was short-lived and lasted less than one day.

At 2300, December 1, the order to relieve elements of the 6-AD during the night of December 2/3 was given to the unit commanders. Following this relief, the 35-ID was to attack at 0400, December 4, and seize objectives in the vicinity of Ernestviller, Heckenransbach, and Grundviller, France. The Division was then to continue the attack over the Sarr River. The 134-IR with Able Co of the 60-ECB (Engineers) and Able Co or the 654-TDB, in direct support, was on the left; the 320-IR, supported by Charlie Co of the 60-ECB (Engineers), and Charlie Co of the 654-TDB, was on the right. The 137-IR constituted the division reserve. Supporting the Division was the 182nd Field Artillery Group (one light and one medium Battalion reinforcing fires of the 216th Field Artillery Battalion), the 1135th Engineer Combat Group and two truck companies, the 443rd Quartermaster Trucks Co and the 2905th Quartermaster Trucks Co.



Relief of the 6-AD went off as planned. The first unit to move to the front was the 3/320, which closed into Kappelkinger at 0100, on December 2. The 134-IR closed into the vicinity of Saint-Jean-Rohrbach at 1540 and the 3/134 relieved elements of 6-AD (Combat Command B) by 2210. During the afternoon, the 1/320 moved to the vicinity of Insming and the 2/320 to the vicinity of Hilsprich. The 137-IR, in division reserve, moved its battalions to Linstroff, Erstroff, and Gréning. The 134-IR and the 320-IR were now on the line of departure poised for the attack.

At 0400, December 4, during the blackness of early morning, both regiments jumped off. To produce the element of surprise, no artillery preparation preceded the attack. It was hoped the enemy would be caught napping and this was found to be true in the 134-IR sector. The leading battalions, the 1/137 and the 2/137, silently moved toward and into Puttelange-aux-Lacs and captured 73 sleeping enemy soldiers in foxholes and buildings. Once awake the enemy countered with small arms, mortar, and artillery fire. But the damage had been done and by 0930, Puttelange-aux-Lacs was declared clear by the 1/137 while the 2/137 had taken the high ground north of the town. During this time, the 3/137, in regimental reserve, moved to a new assembly area at Diffembach-lès-Hellimer. In the afternoon and evening the two battalions drove on the clear Guebenhouse and Ernestviller and outposted the towns during the night.

Four US Army Infantrymen are framed by the shattered walls of a wrecked building as they file through an open area in Puttelange, France, shortly after the capture of the town. (134th Infantry Regiment – 35th Infantry Division – December 4, 1944)

The element of surprise in the 320-IR sector was less successful. Immediately after jumping off, it ran into an enemy column of foot soldiers. The 2/320, on the left, met heavy enemy resistance consisting of small arms and automatic fire, after crossing the Mutterbach River north of Rémering-lès-Puttelange. The 3/320 met considerably lighter resistance in securing the village of Hellering. At 0810 the Battalion had one company entering Betting, and another company immediately following.

The battalion then advanced on Holving, left one company to clear it, and proceeded. At 1850, the 1/320 moved from regimental reserve to advance toward Ballering, seizing the town at 0110 on the morning of December 5. That night the battalion proved that Anti-Tank minefields can be used effectively in offensive combat. Fearing the enemy might move down the road southeast into the town and strike the battalion which had not been able to bring up its AT guns, the CO ordered a hasty minefield be laid on the road with machine guns covering the minefield. It paid dividends. Several hours later a column of enemy vehicles moved down the road. The lead vehicle hit a mine and exploded. The Battalion’s machine guns opened immediately and peppered the column. The enemy turned and ran.

The morning of December 5, found the attack continuing at 0800. The 134-IR advanced rapidly. Taking Heckenransbach and Woustviller quickly, the regiment had the 2/134 in the outskirts of Sarreguemines and the 1/134 sent patrols through the Forêt de Sarreguemines up to the Sarre River by dark.

The 3/134 moved to a new assembly area in the vicinity of Neufgrange and pushed advance elements to the high ground overlooking the Sarre River. The 320-IR’s drive proceeded the morning of December 5. The 1/320 moved on and seized Richeling and continued to advance up to the vicinity of Willerwald. The 2/320 reached Grundviller at 0840 and went on to Heckenransbach, previously taken by the 134-IR, Hambach, and then secured Siltzheim. The 3/320, in regimental reserve, followed the 2/320 and closed into Hambach at 1900. All battalions conducted reconnaissance of the Sarre River during the night.

On December 7 and 8, the 35-ID moved closer to the Saare River, made reconnaissance and preparations to cross the river. In the 134-IR zone, the 2/134 cleared Sarreguemines as far east as the Sarre River. The 2/320 sent Fox Co to the high ground west of Zetting and the 3/320 dispatched Love Co to Wittring, both of which are river towns. The 137-IR, meanwhile, had moved to new assembly positions at Richeling, Holving, Ballering, Diderfing, and Bertering.

The order for the division to cross the Sarre River on the morning of Dec 8, was issued the night before. During the night, the 134-IR and the 320-IR continued their reconnaissance of the river and made preparations for the crossing. At 0500 the crossing began. The 1/134-IR crossed at the railroad bridge south of Sarreguemines and completed the crossing at 0525. The 2/134 and the 3/134 were both over 90 minutes later. Heavy resistance was then encountered. The 1/134 moved northeast along the right side of the railroad tracks methodically clearing out the buildings in that vicinity. On the left side of the tracks, the 2/134 progressed and by noon entered the woods southeast of Sarreguemines. Both Battalions battled heavy small arms an 20-MM fire. Along the east bank of the river, the 3/134 advanced rapidly and mopped up the town of Sarreinsming during the morning. At 1130 the enemy counterattacked the 2/134. 13 to 15 enemy tanks carrying infantry bore down upon the battalion from Neunkirchen. In 15 minutes the enemy dispersed and the attack broken up when fire from all organic, reinforcing and Corps artillery was brought down upon it. The rest of the afternoon the 2/134 and 3/134 made little gain but the 1/134 cleared Stembach, a small village bordered on the north by the railroad tracks and on the west by the Sarre River.

In the sector of the 320-IR, the 2/320, crossing by assault boats, landed on the east shore of the Saare River at 0745 where enemy machine gun fire was met. In the middle of the regimental zone, the 1/320 crossed and pushed its bridgehead as far east as Didering, which it cleared. The crossing of the 3/320 was held up at Zetting by direct fire from the east bank. The 1/320 and the 2/320 gained a few hundred yards the remainder of the day and made preparations to continue the next morning.

Under the cover of darkness that night, the 3/320 crossed at Wittring on a foot-bridge constructed by the 60-ECB. The enemy attempted a second counterattack against the division on December 8 when tanks and infantry moved against the 320-IR. Once again, artillery, this time assisted by air strike, broke up the attack. Organic and reinforcing artillery fired a Time on Target (TOT), immediately followed by the air strike, which, in turn, was followed by another TOT by heavy Corps artillery. In addition, 12 Tank Destroyers from the 654-TDB fired on the attacking force from positions West of the Sarre River, and knocked out at least one tank. During this time, the 60t-ECB and the supporting 1135-ECG attempted to construct vehicular bridges in the vicinity of Wittring and Sarreinsming but extremely heavy enemy artillery fire prevented it. Also on December 8, the 137-IR moved its battalions to Hambach, Siltzheim, and Neufgrange.

AA-Artillery troops guarding newly constructed bridge over the Saar River, Germany, December 12 1944

On December 9, the 35-ID enlarged its bridgehead over the Sarre River. However, the 134-IR made little gain due to very heavy enemy fire. The 1/134 and the 2/134 held their positions while the 3/134 gained several hundred yards in capturing Hill 271.

The 320-IR had more success on December 9. The 3/320 drove northeast at 0800 and seized Hill 311, located a kilometer north of Wittring. There it made contact with the 1/320 on the left and the 328-IR (26-ID), on the right. Pushing on two more kilometers, the 320-IR secured Weisviller by nightfall. Attacking in conjunction with the 3/320, the 1/320 reached positions 300 meters north of the Zetting – Weisviller road when darkness came. The 2/320 moved east, cleared the small woods southeast of Zetting; switched its attack to the north, and reached the south edge of the Lehwald woods.

The 137-IR, in reserve since the beginning of the attack, prepared to move into the fight. The 1/137 was dispatched to the southwest part of Sarreguemines, closing at 0835, when it began clearing snipers in the city. The remainder of the regiment moved to the west bank of the river during the night of December 9/10, preparatory to crossing.

During this time, engineers of the 60-ECB and the 1135-ECG had difficulty constructing vehicular bridges across the river. Enemy artillery was so intense it was practically impossible to work on the bridge. Despite this handicap, they managed to complete the class 40 bridges at Sarreinsming at 2235 and at Wittring at 2217. Construction of these bridges was greatly facilitated by the assistance of the 81-CSGC (Chemical Smoke Generating Company) which smoked the bridge sites effectively enough to prevent enemy observation. The company, composed of Negro soldiers, accomplished its first mission in combat despite severe artillery concentrations directed against it. Seven casualties were suffered.

On December 10, all regiments continued the drive to enlarge the bridgehead at 0730. Continuing the attack astride the railroad track toward the northeast, the 1/134 and the 3/134, punched at strong enemy resistance in Folpersviller and gained the high ground southeast of the town overlooking the Blies River. The 2/134, meanwhile, cleared out Le Grand Bois (Forest) and assembled in regimental reserve in the northwest portion of the woods.

At daylight, the 2/137 and the 3/137, crossed the Sarre River at the railroad bridge and immediately attacked. The 3/137 cleared a factory in southeast Sarreguemines and drove northeast to seize Neunkirchen, Germany. The 2/137 became engaged in bitter hand to hand combat, fighting from machine guns to machine guns with fixed bayonet, rifle, machine gun, and hand grenade in a large porcelain factory east of Sarreguemines. This fierce fighting continued for four hours before the enemy finally withdrew. The 1/137 remained in Sarreguemines on the west side of the river.

During this time, the 1/320 and the 2/320 flushed the woods in Lehwald. The 1/320 then drove on to seize Petit Viesing Eme and Grande Viesing Eme while the 2/320 extended its positions to the east to include the whole northern edge of Lehwald with the mission of holding the position against possible counterattack. On the right of the 1/320, the 3/320 moved as far north as the crossroads about 1000 meters east of Lehwald.

On December 11, the 35-ID drove to the German border with only the Blies River between it and German soil. During the morning, the 1/134, entered Folpersviller, and during the afternoon and evening pushed toward Frauenberg. The 3/134 cleared Blies – Ebersing, putting both battalions on the west bank of the Blies River.

During the morning of December 11, the 3/137, moved on to capture the huge airport east of Sarreguemines and pushed on to the Blies River to seize Frauenberg. The 2/137 continued mopping up east Sarreguemines, capturing a German prisoner of war camp, liberating approximately 1000 Russian, Polish, and Italian POWs, some of whom had been captives of the Nazis for five years. The 1/137, during this time, moved to the east part of Sarreguemines and occupied that part of the town.

In the sector of the 320-IR, the 1/320 and the 3/320 advanced north. The 3/320 pushed to within 1000 meters of Bliesbruck where it was halted by heavy enemy fire. On the left, the 1/320 drove to the railroad where it stopped for the night and sent patrols to the Blies River. The 2/320 remained in Regimental reserve.

At 0500, December 12, Baker and Charlie Cos, 1/134, crossed the Blies River in assault boats and moved into the town of Habkirchen, Germany. The two companies were the first infantry in the Division and XII Corps to occupy German soil in considerable force. However, members of the two companies were not the first individuals to set foot on German ground. Previously, at 0100 on December 12, a patrol of one officer and 3 enlisted men from King Co, 3/137, crossed the Blies River into Germany, reconnoitered landing sites on the east bank and returned.

In Habkirchen, the enemy facing Baker and Charlie Cos were determined and stubborn and fought hard enough to prevent the companies from making any further progress. The 3/134, which was to cross the river on the left of the 1/134, was unable to do so because of the intense artillery and small arms fire. It remained in the vicinity of Blies – Ebersing.

No gain was reported in the 137-IR zone. The 1/137 began its mission of protecting the division left flank by patrolling the Blies River where it runs south past Sarreguemines into the Sarre River and had its defenses tested by groups of enemy who would move to the German border and fire across the Blies. Against a hail of machine gun and tank fire, the 3/320, inched its way forward to the outskirts of the river town of Bliesbruck. Resistance was fierce and even with the aid of an air strike by P-47 Thunderbolts, the battalion was unable to enter the town. In the left portion of the 320-IR sector, the 1/320 made preparations to cross the river at a point about 1000 meters northwest of Bliesbruck. Assault companies protected the engineering equipment as it was brought forward to the river’s bank.

The third counterattack of the month directed against the division occurred at 0015 on December 13, and consisted of armored vehicles and infantry. The brunt of the attack was received by Baker and Charlie Cos 134. The attack threatened the companies’ positions in Habkirchen on the east bank of the Blies River. Although their lines bent, the riflemen fought back stubbornly and held their positions.

Heavy fighting continued until 0400. During the early morning darkness of the day, the 35-ID began its offensive, which, if successful, would force the enemy in the division zone of advance to do all his fighting on his home ground. But first a bridgehead over the Blies River, the last major obstacle before the Siegfried Line, had to be established.

Following a successful river crossing, the plan was for the 137-IR to seize the ground in the vicinity of Bliesransbach, the 134-IR the area in the vicinity of Wolfersheim, and the 320-IR had the limited objective of Nieder-Gallbach, and the area to the south of it. If successful, the drive would place the division at the gates of the Siegfried Line.

At 0400 the attack moved off with Love Co and part of Item Co 134-IR, crossing the river and entering Habkirchen. There they joined forces with the Able Co of the 1/134 which had previously crossed the river and at 0843 repulsed a counterattack in the town. The remainder of the day was spent in holding the town and in getting the remaining elements of the 3/134 across the river.

The 2/134, in regimental reserve, moved to Blies-Ebersing. Also jumping off to cross the river at 0400, the 137-IR succeeded in crossing elements of the 3/137 just north of Habkirchen. Extremely heavy fire from entrenched enemy on dominating ground to the north prevented any other elements from crossing and those across from movement. The 1/137 continued the mission of protecting the division left flank. This flank protection was necessary because the enemy still held the salient bordered on the west by the Sarre River and on the east by the Blies River that sticks out like a peninsula at, and north of Sarreguemines.

Attacking an hour earlier than the rest of the division (at 0300), the 1/320, crossed the river and attacked the strategic Hill 312, northwest of Bliesbruck. Against comparatively light resistance, it reached the hill by close of daylight. From this ground, the battalion commanded the area as far north as Reinheim. The 3/320, during the morning, smashed the enemy-filled houses in Bliesbruck with the support of tank destroyers from the 654-TDB and Charlie Co, of the 737-TB, but made only small gains.

However, by afternoon, it managed to clear a portion of the town. Stiff resistance continued. The 2/320 remained in regimental reserve. Heavy fire from enemy held high ground north of the Blies River continued to slow the progress of the division on December 14. The 2/134, crossed the river at 0400 in the 320-IR zone and advanced to the area a kilometer northeast of Blies – Ebersing.

Clearing Habkirchen house by house, the 1/134 and the 3/134 pushed further into the town. All front line troops of the 134-IR were now in Germany. The 3/137 moved its remaining elements across the river and engaged the enemy in Habkirchen with the elements of the 134-IR. At 1000 it drove toward the regiment’s first objective. At 0500, the 2/320 moved out of the regimental reserve to attack north in conjunction with the 347-IR (87-ID), and reached positions about a kilometer west of Bliesbruck.

The 1/320 remained on Hill 312 but dispatched Able Co to clear the remaining enemy from Bliesbruck while the 3/320 attacked north and reached positions about a kilometer north of Bliesbruck. The division and reinforcing artillery played a vital role in the establishment of the bridgehead across the Blies and the drive into Germany. Firing numerous TOTs (Time on Target), harassing and interdiction fires, the artillery had devastating effect on the enemy and was responsible for breaking up several counterattacks. The effect of the artillery on the enemy is well brought out by the statements of prisoners of war taken in this action, as reported by division IPW teams. This is what three of the prisoners said :

POW #1 was a Sergeant in the 9.Company of the 38.Regiment (17.SS-Panzergrenadier Division – Götz von Berlichingen) : the battalion of which this PW was a member came into position on the high ground east of Habkirchen, two days before he was captured. His battalion received artillery fire, light and medium caliber, after midnight on December 12. The artillery came in concentrations and as single rounds. The PW estimated there were at least 50% casualties in the battalion during the night. The artillery fire forced them to withdraw to the woods to the northeast. The next morning they were ordered to return to their original positions to prepare for a counterattack. There were to be reinforced for the counterattack with rear echelon troops and other.

POW #2 was a Corporal in the 5.Company of the 165.Regiment (36.Infantry-Division – Wehrmacht) : the battalion came to the area east of Habkirchen from Bolchen and to the Bolchen area from Forbach. The PW stated that the mission of the battalion was to blow the bridge at Habkirchen, destroy the bridgehead, and take up positions near the bridge site.

Most of the artillery went over his company, but landed on the units following. He said the artillery fire was very heavy and accurate and that it landed squarely in the lanes of attack.

POW #3 was a Lieutenant from the Grenadier Company, 165.Regiment, 36.Division : this PW was the Company Commander. He received an order to attack the American bridgehead at Habkirchen during the early morning hours of December 13. His company moved out and was caught in artillery fire at Bleismengen. It suffered some casualties there and the PW ordered his men to take cover in the cellars of the town. The attack continued from Bleismengen about 0500 – 0530 on the morning of December 14. His company again received artillery fire this time about 300 meters north of Habkirchen along the road. It suffered a good many casualties and the attack was broken up. A portion of his company fled and the balance dispersed and were either killed or captured. This attack was to have been coordinated with an attack by the 17.SS-Division from the high ground to the east of Habkirchen. He said he asked for artillery support from the German artillery but it never came. He described the artillery as being very heavy and entirely too accurate. His information indicated that the American bridgehead was very lightly held, only four houses in Habkirchen were thought to be occupied.

The drive into Germany continued to be resisted stubbornly on December 15. The 1/134 and the 3/134 attacked the few remaining strong points in Habkirchen, announcing the town clear by noon. The 1/134 then became regimental reserve and the 2/134 moved northwest and pushed into the Bannholz woods by the end of the day. The 2/134 held its positions a kilometer northeast of Blies – Ebersing and patrolled the woods to the north. Meanwhile, the 1/137, continued to protect the division left flank and the 2/137, less George Co, remained in regimental reserve, the 3/137, with George Co attached, attacked the regiment’s 1st objective, reaching it early in the morning.

The battalion continued north, entered the Brietenwald woods, where it received a counterattack consisting of 5 enemy tanks and 75 infantrymen. Driven from the south edge of the woods, the battalion fell back to positions south of Hill 330. Supported by artillery and tanks, the battalion counter attacked immediately but was unable to re-enter the woods. Baker Co 737-TB, was attached to the regiment at 1855.

During the morning of December 15, the 1/320, had Able Co continue mopping up Bliesbruck on the north side of the Blies River while the remainder of the battalion drove on to an area west of Reinheim. The 2/320 overcame heavy resistance and seized Nieder-Gallbach during the afternoon. The 3/320 supported the attack on Reinheim. The push into Germany continued to make progress slowly. Resistance remained stiff and comparatively few prisoners were taken.

On December 16, the 2/134 was attached to the 137-IR and went into position in the 137-IR zone. It then attacked with the 3/134, driving into the woods about a kilometer north of Reinheim. The 1/137, which had been protecting the division left flank, was relieved of this mission by the 2-CG (Cavalry Group) during the afternoon.

In the 320-IR sector, the 1/320 cleared Reinheim and moved to Hill 352 to maintain contact with the 3/320 on the right and the 2/134 on the left. The 2/320 and the 3/320 worked together to attack and seize Gersheim. The town, separated by the Blies River, was occupied in the east portion by the 2/320 and in the west by the 3/320.

On the morning of December 17, the 35-ID attacked again. The 2/134 and the 3/134, continued clearing the woods north of Reinheim. During the afternoon, the 3/134 was relieved by the 1/137, and moved to an assembly area vicinity of Folpersviller for rest and reorganization. The 3/137 attempted assault after assault on the Breitenwald Forest but made little progress and suffered heavy casualties. During the night, the battalion was relieved by the 1/137. The 2/137 continued to clear the forest north of Reinheim.

Attacking out of Gersheim into the factory area north of the town, the 2/320, seized the area, out posted to the west, and made contact with the 347-IR (87-ID). The 1/320 encountered a farm a kilometer west of Gersheim strongly and stubbornly defended by the enemy. By dark, however, the battalion had the farm surrounded on three sides. Elements of the 3/320 moved to the northwest to envelope the left of the enemy and assisted the 1/320.

On December 18, the 134-IR (less one battalion) became the regimental reserve. The 1/134 was attached to the 137-IR and the 2/134 was relieved from attachment to the 137-IR. This relief was effected during the night of December 18/19. The 1/137, drove the enemy back in the Breitenwald forest and reached the north edge of the woods. However, it continued fighting tanks and infantry by-passed during the advance. During this time the 2/137 was attacking Bliesmengen meeting strong resistance. The 3/137 remained in the assembly area at Neunkirchen and continued to reorganize. The attack on the farmhouse by the 1/320, continued. After fighting all day, the battalion succeeded in taking the farm at 1500. The 3/320 remained at Gersheim but had elements assist the 1/320.

On December 19, the Division was ordered to hold and consolidate. The only major activity was in the area of the 1/137 which repelled several counterattacks during the night of December 19/20. During the morning of December 20, the 1/134, received heavy counter attacks by tanks and infantry and was pushed back to the south edge of the Reinheimwald forest. While this was happening in the Division sector, the enemy launched a large scale counter offensive against the 1-A in the Belgian Ardennes. In order to be prepared to counter this blow with ready reserves, several divisions were pulled out of the line and dispatched to that area.

The 35-ID was one of these. During the night of December 20/21, the relief of the division began. The 346/87-ID, relieved the 320/35-ID in its zone. Late in the morning the 137/35-ID was relieved by the 324/44-ID. The 134-IR, already in division reserve, moved back to its assembly area immediately. The division assembled in the vicinity of Ernstviller, Guebenhouse, Grundviller, Richeling, Remmering, Uberkinger, Holving, and Saint-Jean-Rohrbach. The 737-TB and the 654-TDB were detached from the division and sent into the fight in the Ardennes.

On December 22 and 23, the 35-ID moved to Metz where it was released from XII Corps and placed under direct control of 3-A. At Metz, the division was completely out of the line for the first time since it landed in France on July 7 1944. On Christmas Day, the troops, billeted in warm buildings in the city, ate a hearty meal, and were given passes into the town.

Sgt Joseph Holmes (Cumberland, Md) is heavily-bearded and battle-worn from days of fighting in the Bastogne area. Charlie Co, 320-IR, 35-IDOn December 26, the division moved from Metz to the area north of Arlon, Belgium. Here it was to assist in the Patton’s 3-A drive into the south flank of the enemy salient. For the operation, the 35-ID was placed under the control of III Corps while the 654-TDB was again attached to the 35-ID.

On December 27, the division attacked north without reconnaissance from positions along the south bank of the Sûre River, with the 137-IR on the left, the 320-IR on the right, the 134-IR being in division reserve. The 4-AD was on the left and the 26-ID on the right. The attack moved off at 0800. The 137-IR moved by truck along a road in the 4-AD zone to a point southwest of Tintange, Belgium, in order to cross the river in friendly territory and made considerable gains until it reached Sûre. There it met bitter resistance and only after a hard struggle was it able to capture the town.

The 320-IR experienced difficulty in crossing the River. Resistance from the north bank of the river was very strong but the 3/320, on the left, managed to wade elements across by noon. The 2/320 got a company across during the afternoon. Later the resistance lessened and by dark the 2/320 was in Boulaide and Baschleiden, and the 3/320 was moving north. As the division moved up for the attack during the morning, it passed through and relieved the 6-CS (Cavalry Squadron) which had been holding in this sector.

At 0600, December 28, the 35-ID continued its drive against the south flank of the enemy salient. The 137-IR made only slight gain during the day. The 2/137 made small gain to the north of Surré and the 3/137 drove to the hill southwest of Villers-La-Bonne-Eau where very heavy small arms, mortar, and artillery fire was encountered. The battalion’s attempts to enter the town were all repulsed. Then, to assist the 3/137, the 1/137 moved out of regimental reserve and was committed to the left of the 3/137.

In the 320-IR zone, the 0600 attack also made little gain. The 2/320 drove against considerable resistance to take the high ground about a kilometer northwest Baschleiden. The 3/320 continued its attack to the north and secured the four road junction north of Baschleiden. The 1/320 remained in reserve vicinity of Boulaide. The 134-IR, in division reserve, moved by motor to vicinity of Warnach during the early morning. The 3/134 immediately went into action, relieving the 1/318-IR (80-ID), which had been attached to the 4-AD.

December 29, found the division again attacking. H-hour was 0800. The 1/137 and the 2/134, pushed to the north edge of the Surre Woods while the 3/137 made little gain in its drive into Villers-La-Bonne-Eau. Meanwhile, the 2/320 was engaged in bitter battle with enemy around a farm southeast of Harlange. The attack of the 3/320 met equally stiff resistance south of Harlange and gained little ground.

The 134-IR came out of division reserve and attacked north and northeast. The 3/134, already committed, pushed toward Lutrebois and seized most of the town by dark. The 1/134 moved into Marvie, three kilometers southeast of Bastogne, where it made contact with elements of the 101-Abn in besieged Bastogne pocket. The 2/134 moved to fill the gap between the 3/134 and the 3/137.

The enemy on the morning of December 30, launched an extremely heavy counterattack with tanks and infantry of the 167.Volksgrenadier and 1.SS-Panzer-Division against the 137-IR and 134-IR. King and Love Cos of the 137-IR, in the town of Villers-La-Bonne-Eau were surrounded by elements of the enemy and very heavy pressure was placed against the rest of the regiment. The 134-IR, hit hard by this counterattack, held its positions throughout the day. The 320-IR, missed by the counter attack, jumped off at 0800 but met very strong resistance from Harlange and the farm southeast of the town. The counter attack, which had the mission of cutting the Arlon – Bastogne highway, was repulsed. The infantry in repulsing it had much assistance from the air corps and artillery. The enemy was continually strafed and bombed and subjected to severely heavy artillery fire.

On the last day of December, the Division’s attempts to attack met with little success. Attempts to relieve the situation of King and Love Co, 137-IR, failed and the companies were given up for lost when it was learned from PWs that the companies had been destroyed or captured.

Datas

POW captured by the 35-ID during December 1944 was 1704.
Replacements received by the 35-ID during December 1944 was 3779.
Battle casualties during December 1944 were as follows : KIA – 141, DOW – 64, SWA – 90, LWA – 657, LIA – 122, MIA – 222, CAP – 16, TOTAL – 1312

For all purposes :
European Center of Military History
Gunter ‘Doc Snafu’ Gillot
rue des Thiers 8
Francorchamps 4970
Belgium
Email : gunter [at] eucmh.be





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(NB : Published for Good – March 2019)

 

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