The battles of Gettysburg, Antietam, and Manassas are recognized highlights of history. They are also highlights in the history of a distinguished and renowned infantry regiment. Replete in its lineal descent with glory, the 101st Infantry Regiment was originally the Fighting Ninth, organized in the days when the now traditional Spirit of the Yanks was first written in the annals of history, days when Faneuil Hall was still a perfection of modern design. The officially recognized dale of the mustering into service of the Ninth Infantry Regiment is June 20 1861, when the unit was called for Federal Service in the Civil War. A few weeks previously a large number of men of Irish origin under the leadership of Colonel Thomas Cass had formed an infantry regiment and offered their services lo the Governor of the Commonwealth Massachusetts. Since then, the Regiment has been in existence, both in Federal and State Service.
The Civil War days of the Regiment are historic. Ten major engagements crowded the Ninth’s docket. The Battles of Gaines’ Hill and Malvern Hill are the never-to-be forgotten initial battles of the Regiment which served as promises for the scores of years to follow. Among the major engagements were Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, Manassas, and Antielam. In the closing year of the civil war the Ninth took part in the great Wilderness Offensive, in which its commander, Colonel Guiney was seriously wounded and replaced by Lt Col Patrick Hanley. It was at Laurel Hill near Spotsylvania’s bloody angle that the pioneer doughs marched many a mile under fire as General Grant tried to out-maneuver General Lee. The three years for which this Regiment had enlisted were shortly to expire, and it returned home to be mustered out in Boston on June 21 1864.
The next call for military service came on May 4 1898, for the Spanish American War. The Regiment, under the command of Col Lawrence J. Logan, was stationed in the vicinity of Santiago, Cuba, until the Spanish forces surrendered. The story of the Ninth in the Cuban campaign is one in which maladies peculiar to the tropics took a greater toll than did the enemy. Still fresh within the memories of a few members of the Regiment are the activities of the Ninth during the first World War. Prepared for this service by its duty at El Paso, Texas, June 18 to November 22, 1916, the Regiment was augmented by additional troops, was re-designated the 101st Infantry, with Colonel Edward L. Logan its commander, and was mustered in at Framingham on August 22 1917. One month later it landed in France, the first National Guard Unit of the American Expeditionary Forces to land on French soil. The 101st Regiment was also the National Guard unit to enter the lines. Joining the French, it made a successful raid on February 23, the first raid in which American troops participated and the first time that troops had attacked behind an artillery barrage laid down by the US Artillery. This market the beginning of an exceptionally renowned era of the Regimental’s History. The Regiment distinguished itself in the battles of Lorraine, Ile-de-France, Champagne-Maine, Aisne-Marne, St Mihiel, and Meuse-Argonne. Under the command of Col Edward L. Logan, who served longer in the line than any other Colonel in the Army, the Regiment sailed home in March 1919, and was mustered out at Camp Devens in April. The promises of Gaines’ Hill and Malvern Hill had not been belied at Château Thierry or Saint Mihiel. The six major engagements of the World War had but enriched the traditions of the Fighting Ninth, now the 101st Infantry Regiment.
(Above) French children waving to 101st Ammunition train, 26th Division, passing through the village of Soulosse, France, on way to the front, April 10 1918. (NARA) – (Bellow) Also in France, Brig Gen Douglas MacArthur cleaned up after the Germans left and restored what he could of the original splendor. He is seated in the original chair of the old lord of the Château Saint-Benoit, France.
Until the recent era of the 101st Infantry History, the Regiment had been commanded by the following officers : Thomas Cass, Patrick R. Guiney, Patrick T. Hanley, Patrick A. O’Connel, Bernard F. Finan, William M. Sfrahan, Frederick B. Logan, Lawrence J. Logan, William J. Donovan (Wild Bill), John J. Sullivan, Edward L. Logan, Thomas F. Foley, John D. Murphy, Arthur W. Desmond, and Francis V. Logan. In December 1938, Col Paul G. Kirk, was appointed Commander and remained in command until September 1943. He was succeeded by Lt Col Albert C. Dunphy, who was later replaced by Col Walter T. Scott, in the latter part of September 1943.
With the German steamroller crashing throughout Europe in May 1940, America felt the need for increased defenses against the threat of totalitarian might and started into operation long prepared plans for the mobilization of a citizen army. All National Guard Divisions were included into Federal Service within a year. And so, on January 16 1941, the 26th Infantry Division, the Yankee Division of World War One was included. On that date, the 10.000 Massachusetts Officers and Men of the Division reported to the 50 Armories throughout the State. Augmented by 1500 Trainees, the Regiment was engaged in its initial training at Camp Edwards-(Massachusetts). Moving temporarily to Fort Devens-(Massachusetts), for preliminary field maneuvers, the Regiment again returned to Camp Edwards in September 1941, only to leave again to participate in the Carolina Maneuvers during October and November, returning again in December to Camp Edwards.
(Above) Ruins of a B-17-C aircraft rests near Hickam Field after the attack. Nearly half of the approximately 60 airplanes at Hickam Field had been destroyed or severely damaged. (Bellow) The USS West Virginia and the USS Tennessee burn on December 7 1941, after the Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor. (NARA)
The world was stunned by Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941. For the 26th Division, it meant immediate assignment to the Eastern Defense Command to aid in the security of the United States’ east coast. The regiment was engaged in shore patrol duty. The 101st Regiment left Camp Edwards for the last time in May 1942 proceeding to Camp Hill-(Virginia). In October the Regiment moved again, this time to Fort George G. Meade-(Maryland). Shore patrol was now over, and the Regiment moved to Fort Jackson-(South-Carolina), where it joined the rest of the division attached to the XII Corps, 2nd Army of the Ground Forces. A new group of inductees brought the Regiment to strength in February 1943, and the 101st Infantry launched upon a year of training previous to the gang-plank. In April 1943, the Regiment moved to Camp Gordon-(Georgia). In September 1943, Col Paul G. Kirk, Commander of the regiment since the summer of 1938, left for duties with the Military Government. Ll Col Albert C. Dunphy assumed command and was superseded by Col Waller T. Scott. Then, on it moved in its nomadic ways to Camp Campbell-(Kentucky), to the Tennessee Maneuvers, to Fort Jackson, and finally to Camp Shanks-(New York) (POE). Training and preparation was over. The blunt, unyielding stars of the gang-plank supervised the embarkation of the Regiment or August 27 1944. On September 7 1944, the 101st Infantry Regiment docked in the Port of Cherbourg, France.
Colonel Walter T. Scott – CO 101-IR
This is the history of the combat action of the 101st Infantry Regiment of the 26th Infantry Division (Yankee Division) against Germany in World War II. It is more than mere factual data for historical purposes. It is the story of the achievement, the admirable conduct, the solid worth of the Regiment. It is the story of the hundreds of gallant and fighting 101 Combat Infantrymen, men who delighted in mastery, were confident of their ability and their overwhelming determination to fight successfully to victory, and men who fought doggedly and furiously for the right things in life. It is the story of men who always held, never lost, an irrepressible and biting scorn for the enemy and his treacherous cause. It is the story of the valiant men who look in their capable stride the little things and the big things, working continuously with seriousness and diligence.
Col Daniel J. Murphy – EO 101-IR
This is, in another sense, a tribute. It is a tribute to each Officer and Enlisted Man who served with the Regiment; a tribute to those at home who hoped and prayed for them; a special tribute to those heroic dead, who paid the supreme sacrifice for their Regiment, for their country, and for the world; brave men who fought that the world might have once and for all the four unimpaired freedoms. Indeed, it is a special recognition for the latter. Their deeds in themselves are certainly a monument more lasting than brass. The Combat history of the Regiment is one keynoted by aggressiveness. From the beginning to the end, activities were never of a passive nature. Under the vigorous leadership of Col Walter T. Scott, the Regiment worked strenuously, attacking with feverish intensity, maneuvering with marked dexterity. There was nothing dormant in the activities.
Following the debarkation at Cherbourg, France, on September 7 1944, and the relief of the 4th Armored Division in the vicinity of Arracourt, France, on October 7, the offensive operations for the Regiment began on November 8. The attack from Arracourt, on this date began an aggressive period which was to terminate temporarily at Rohrbach, France, on December 10. Plans for the initial offensive were carefully and meticulously drawn up. The 2/101, under Lt Col Bernard A. Lyons, was to lead the attack, supported by the 3/101 from positions on the high ground to the rear. The 1/101 was to hold the positions it had and support the attack by harassing the enemy to its front and by executing small local attacks. The plan was for the 3/101 to follow the 2/101 when it had reached Moyenvic, at which time the 1/101 was to disengage itself from the enemy and assemble in the vicinity of Juvrecourt, and follow the 3/101 around the left of the position and thence to Moyenvic. Hill 310 was the initial objective.
In the darkness of the morning of November 8, Lt Col Lyons left to join the forward elements of his Battalion. With no indications that the enemy suspected an attack, Lt Col Lyons inched the assault echelons ot his Battalion closer to the enemy lines for a better jump-off position. At 0600, November 8 1944, the attack jumped off, preceded by a thoroughly devastating hour of artillery preparation. For many men in the Regiment the deafening, ceaseless, foreboding roar of the artillery on this morning marked a standard by which future mornings could and would be judged. Moving in a column of battalions, 2/101 leading, the assault on Hill 310 had started. A surprise jump-off found George Co in Moyenvic, and Item Co in Salival, before the enemy could catch his breath. Easy and Fox Cos continued around the flanks of Moyenvic, establishing a river crossing by swimming the Seille River and capturing a bridge north of Moyenvic. An important stepping stone, this bridge assisted both companies in a continuous drive on to the hill, elements of Fox Co having made for the hill prior to the capture of the bridge. At 0915, elements of Easy and Fox Cos were securely entrenched on the high ground of Hill 310, when later they were reinforced by Love Co and Mike Co. The 1/101 had effected a convincing demonstration in its original position so that the enemy would not discover the line of thrust of the Regiment’s main effort, At 1100, the 1/101 extracted itself from the enemy, followed the route taken by the other two battalions, and contacted Item Co on the west side of Hill 310.
The drive was made not without difficulty. The attack had carried the Division into a penetration of the enemy’s lines, leaving elements of the enemy on the Regiment’s right rear. A terrific stream of enemy harassing artillery fire came from that enemy element, conservatively estimated at 3500 rounds in a period of two days. Moreover, Hill 310 was the beginning of a ridge line which ran to the north and then turned to the east, affording the enemy direct observation on Hill 310 and the surrounding area. And so the Regiment was committed to active combat. The tempo at which the future was to be carried on was indicated by a conference held by the Division Commander Maj Gen Willard Paul and Col Walter T. Scott in the streets of Moyenvic while the command post was being set up under enemy observation, in the initial attack from November 8 to November 12, the Regiment netted 524 prisoners.
On November 12, the 3/101 experienced the Regiment’s first counter attack from the rear, a counter attack coming from the town of Wuisse. It was swiftly and surely repulsed. A day later, November 13, the Regiment received added strength in the persons of 759 reinforcements. With the augmented strength the Regiment seized Bedestroff, near Marimont. On November 19, the doughs plunged through water waist deep in a driving attack on a general line north and south through Bergelstroff. Lt Col Lyons, CO 2/101, was seriously wounded on that day. On November 20, the 1/101 (Lt Col Lawrence M. Kirk) took Lohr and Innsviller and the 3/101 (Lt Col Peale) captured Torchviller. November 27 witnessed the fall of Altweiller to the 1/101. At Altweiller the 101st Engineers built several bridges in only a few hours, keeping up their record of being instrumental in keeping the main supply routes to the Battalions constantly open.
Throughout the November weeks, the talk and interests of the Sarre doughs centered around the impending battle for Sarre Union, France. Sarre Union was not far off. On November 30, Col Scott, accompanied by the Regimental S-3, Maj Albert J. McWade, went to Eschweiller to coordinate for an attack order with Gen Dager and Gen Wood of the 4-AD. On December 1, with the support of two squadrons of fighter planes, the Regiment jumped off and Item Co reached the outskirts of Sarre Union. The following day saw the consolidation of attacks by King, Item and Love companies in the town. The 1/101 swiftly seized the high ground some 1500 yards east of Sarre Union, followed by the 2/101. By December 3, but only after fierce fighting in the streets and outskirts of the town, Sarre Union fell to the 101-IR. A determined counter attack by enemy tanks and infantry was thrown off the following day by Item Co. Sarre Union cost the service of valuable personnel in the loss of Maj Frank Sellars, the Regiment’s Civil Affairs Officer and Lt Col Kirk, l/101’s CO.
From Sarre Union the Regiment drove through Oermingen and Kolhausen to Rohrbach where the Regiment’s initial phase or action terminated. The relief was completed by the 87-ID. Throughout these chill autumn weeks the Regiment gradually hardened to the increasing cold and dampness. The long hours of the day and night in and out of foxholes had been spent mostly in rain and cold, snow and sleet. There was no comfort even in the woods, for they were often booby trapped with potato mashers and 88 shells ready to be ignited by trip wires. For the riflemen stoves were out of the question and bearded faces were prevalent. There were the usual close calls. For example, S/Sgt Edward Canly of the 2/101’s Intelligence Section was hit by a small arms missile which passed through both pockets of his jacket and left him un-scarred. Or an Able Co dough who watched a mortar dud land in his foxhole.
Metz to the Bulge
Riding back over the old battle grounds on December 10 1944, the leading elements of the Regiment completed a tactical motor movement to Metz. Evidence of the destruction of war visited upon the fortress city was seen everywhere. The 2/101 was to continue through Metz and into positions to contain Fort Jeanne d’Arc. This fort was the last fort of the group around Metz to fall and al the time of our arrival there was being contained by elements of the 345-IR (87-ID). Col Scott ordered specifically that no attempt would be made to attack the fort other than by harassing fire. Included in the Metz mission was the task of guarding captured equipment and allowing no unauthorized persons to enter the fallen Forts of Driant, Plapperville, Ouenlin, Dam D’ Bois and the many smaller forts along the chain. On December 11, Gen Hartness, (ADC) and Col Scott decided that more troops were needed physically on the guard to prevent any possible escape of the enemy. As a result the 1/101 took the southern sector and the 2/101 the northern.
Fort Jeanne d’Arc had not long to stand. On December 13, Capt Thomas Ryan, 1/101’s S-3, reported by telephone to the Regimental CP that a German Officer had come out of the Fort with a white flag in the front of Baker Co’s area and had expressed a desire to discuss surrender terms wilh Col Scott. A meeting was arranged and the parties met at a road junction southeast of the Fort. Gen Hartness and Col Scott accepted the unconditional surrender of the last Metz Fortress. Once again, the 101-IR scored.
For the 101’s men Metz was also a city for rest and rehabilitation. There were passes to the city and some to Paris. There were movies and beer. For a few days there was no war. On Sunday, December 17, the Regiment held a combined memorial service in memory of its fallen comrades. Chaplains Peler Honderd, Joseph Raimondo, and Floyd Engstrom officiated. The men of the 101-IR liked Metz. The rest, the relaxation, the entertainment was exceptionally suitable, but it was not long to last. On December 19, it was definitely determined that the Regiment was going to move somewhere due to an impending emergency which was later found out to be the penetration made by the Germans through Belgium and part of Luxembourg.
Battle of the Bulge
A motor movement from Metz to Luxembourg was effected on December 20. The movement of the 26-ID was the initial effort made by the Third Army to drive a wedge into the south flank of the penetration made by the recent German counter attack to the north. The Baffle of the Ardennes was destined to be one of the fiercest and most trying of all for the 101-IR. Contact was first made with the German by King Co on December 23, as part of the Task Force Dunham (Capt Leland K. Dunham, CO King Co) in the vicinity of Rhinbrush. From that day on, the 101-IR encountered a determined, arrogant and vicious enemy. There were enemy paratroopers. The enemy was using American equipment including trucks tanks. Those were the days of air attacks, of compromised passwords, of treacherous assaults. Those were the days of bitter wind and cold, long hours of watching and waiting long, monotonous, painful moments. Those were the days of sleeping in the maculate atmosphere of the odious aftermath of battle, days touched with bitterness. There were apathetic men who came so close to death that all the fury of battle seemed ironically vague. There were many heroes, some pronounced, many unsung. The Battle of the Bulge was perhaps the toughest of the war. Yet in traditional style the 101-IR moved on with a dogged, assured determination to crush anyone who dared to contend. There was no cringing, no cowardice. The doughs were arrogant in pressing forward to seize what was desired.
On December 24, the Regiment was in the vicinity of Ell and Reichling, Luxembourg. The 2/101, led by Maj Stetson, took Rambraush and Kochschelle. Fortunately the Regiment spent a quiet Christmas Eve. On December 25, the Regiment relieved the 328-IR, and the 2/101 immediately took Arsdorf. In these snowy regions the Regiment encountered the Gross Deulschland Division, equipped with white snow capes which made them exceedingly difficult to see. It was necessary to cross the icy Sure River and the enemy attempted to frustrate all attempts to cross. It was here that Col Scott arrived on the scene, instructing that a boat be made available to him. Taking his bodyguard Sgt Joseph Yerardi with him, he made the initial crossing setting an example for his troops to follow. For this he was awarded the Silver Star by Gen Willard S. Paul. The crossing of the Sure River was definitely achieved by the aggressive, persistent action of both, the 1/101 and the 3/101. The 1/101 sent its Battalion patrol across the river the night of December 25, meanwhile, the 3/101, forced a crossing in King Co’s area against several vicious enemy counter attacks and captured the town of Lieftrange, where, a junction was made between the two battalions. On December 28, the 1/101 took Bavigne and the 2/101 took Mecher-Dunkrodt.