101-A/B (Easy 506) – Bastogne – December 1944


After Action Report, 101st Airborne Division, Headquarters 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Easy Company. Period : December 1944 – January 1945.

December 17 1944
At 2300, the Battalion and Separate Unit Commanders were notified that this Regiment would be prepared for truck movement to combat at 1400, December 18 1944.

December 18 1944
The Regiment minus advanced party commenced trucking at 1500 leaving the Camp Mourmelon in France at 1630. Personnel on 40 trailers, equipment and supplies in Regimental Transport. The advanced party closed at the 101-A/B Command Post in Bastogne at 2200.

December 19 1944
The advanced party established the Regimental Command Post in Champs, Belgium, about 3 miles north-northwest of town of Bastogne, Belgium, at 0130 and having placed guides at road junction Barrière de Champlon – Bastogne Highway (N-4) and the Mande Saint-Etienne Road, 3 miles northwest of Bastogne, commenced to pickup our vehicles between 0300 and 0605 when when last troop came in. The enemy position at this time was obscure. At 0830, the Regimental Combat Team in Route Column as follows : 1/506, 3/506, Regimental Headquarter, 321-GFAB, 2/506, marched to Bastogne, the point halting on its outskirts at 1030.

At 1050, the 1/506 by Divisional order proceeded to Noville, about 4.5 miles north of Bastogne where with the elements of the 10-AD and Baker 705-TDB, it formed CCB, with the 1/506 Commanding Officer in Command.

At 1400. The 3/506 marched up to Foy, between Bastogne and Noville, and established a line of resistance with George 506, Item 506 and How 506, having contact to the 501-PIR on the right flank and the 502-PIR on the left. The 2/506 followed the 3/506 out of Bastogne, halting at Luxery, where it remained in Regimental Reserve.

The commanding ground to the east and north of Noville being in enemy hands, at 1430, Charlie 506 attacked to the east, Able and Baker 506 to the north, against extremely heavy artillery and small arms fire. A counter attack against Able and Baker 506 by a battalion of infantry supported by 16 Tanks, 5 of which our TDs destroyed, was repulsed. By evening, this objective not having been reached, a perimeter defense of the town was initiated. During the night, many attempts by the enemy to force an entrance in the Main Line of Resistance (MLR) were made.

His method was to employ 2 or 3 Tanks with accompanying infantry as assault troops. During this period 2 more enemy Tanks were destroyed and others immobilized by 2’36 Rocket Launchers fire. Artillery and Tank fire continued heavy during the night. At 2130, 2 Platoons of the 705-TDB were attached to the Regiment. Both were sent to Foy with 1 Platoon being instructed to repair the 1/506 as soon as practicable. 4 PWs were taken this date.

December 20 1944
At 0715 the TDs at Foy, attached to 1/506 and moved to Noville. At 0800, the line of the 3/506 was attacked, Item and How 506, by an estimated 2 companies supported by 3 Tanks and George 506 by 1 company and 3 Tanks.

At 1000, the 2/506 (less one Plat. Fox Co in security for the 321-GFAB) moved forward along the Foy – Bastogne Road (N-30) being ordered at 1100 to take portion or the 3/506’s line east of the highway and inclusive the Railroad Station at the RR crossing Foy – Bizory Road and Bastogne – Bourcy RR. At 1030, the 3/506 withdrew to the high ground immediately south of Foy and stopped the enemy attack.

In Noville, enemy teams consisting of 5 Tanks with infantry support had attacked during the morning, at one time bringing the town under attack from 3 sides. The armored unit being unable to fully maintain their Tanks, 3 of them were manned by the 1/506. The unit having been isolated from the remainder of our forces by enemy action had with ammunition and manpower waning, the command was ordered to withdraw to and trough the Bastogne defense.

At 1130, the command moved from Noville towards Foy along the main road (N-30), the advance guard consisting of Charlie 506 and 3 Tanks, the rear guard, Baker 506 and 4 Tanks (TDs), the Tanks with Charlie 506 being destroyed at an enemy road block north of Foy, the column swung to the right trough the fields entering Foy further south were the 3/506 had taken considerable portion of the town in an attack which had coincided with the withdrawal of CCB. Starting at 1400, this attack eventually cleared Recogne, taking Foy and ground 200 M to the north.

Note for those who want to visit the area : we have in this area two towns wearing the same name of Recogne. (1) Recogne, along the road Foy, Recogne, Monaville, up to Bertogne about 6000 M north of Bastogne and (2) Recogne, on the N-40, Recogne, Libramont, Chevigny, 50 KMs southeast of Bastogne.

The 2/506 failing to take the RR Station, made patrol contact with the 501-PIR, some 1000 M to the south. The 1/506 constituted the Regimental Reserve at Luxery with 1 Plat of Able Co forming a strong point behind the 2/506 and the 501-PIR on the RR.

They had suffered casualties of 13 Officers and 190 Enlisted while being part of the command that destroyed 31 armored vehicles and over 50% of the of the German 304.Infantry-Regiment at Noville. The armored vehicles were identified as equipment of the 2.Regiment, 2.Panzer-Division. 84 PWs were taken that day.

December 21 1944
At 0330, the 3/506 was attacked. At 0600, George Co moved to high ground south of Recogne. In spit of the use of all battalion reserve, the enemy continued to press his attack. The 3/506 withdrew to high ground and the enemy tank and infantry attack was stopped. At 0830, the 2/506 located an estimate 2 enemy platoons in thier defense perimeter. The 1/506 was ordered to reduce this group. An intense small arms and bayonet fight ensued, the 1/506 killing 50 and taking 85 PWs, the remainder being killed or captured by the 2/506 and the 2/501. Firm contact was established between the 2 regiments; the RR Station being jointly held after 1730. Enemy activity now decreased noticeably.

December 22 1944
Due to the lack of enemy activity, vigorous patrolling were conducted by the 2/506 and the 3/506 resulting in the location of remunerative mortar and artillery target in the vicinity of Recogne, Foy, and the Bois Jacques.

December 23 1944
Being the first day of clear weather since the arrival of the Regiment, the Army Air Force flew many missions, some on information reported from our forward units. The enemy was quiet. At 1900 the 1/506 was placed on one half hour alert for the remainder of the night due to enemy attacks 327-GIR area to the Southeast. 9 PWs were taken that day.

December 24 1944
At 0830, the 2/506 was attacked in the Bois Jacques by an enemy company. This company having as his mission reconnaissance in force, attacked along the entire battalion front was destroyed by 1100 from which time this sector and the 3/506 sector stayed quiet for the remainder of the period. 3PWs were taken.

December 25 1944
At 0525, the 1/506 was placed on one-half hour alert due to attack in the 502-PIR sector in the northwest. At 0845, they moved from Luxery west to Savy where they remained in reserve. At 1530, the Regimental CP moved to Luxery. No offensive enemy action.

December 26 1944
Today, there was no offensive enemy action while the 506-PIR patrolled the sector as usual.

December 27 1944
The 506-PIR defending the line on the high ground south of Recogne, Foy and along the Foy, Bourcy Road as it cuts trough the woods inclusive of the RR Station. The 3/506 inclusive of the Bastogne – Noville highway to the left, the 2/506 exclusive of the highway and inclusive of RR Station.
The 1/506 was in Reserve at Savy. The enemy was quiet.

December 28 1944
Regimental sector is same and quiet. Weather foggy. At 1900, the 1/506 due to enemy attack in the 502-PIR sector was placed on 30 minutes alert.

December 29 1944
Regimental sector is same. Little enemy activity. Weather being clear, the Army Air Force flew several missions against Noville, Foy and Recogne which were observed on results reported by our OPs.

December 30 1944
At 0710, enemy planes bombed the Regimental CP area causing no casualties. Enemy artillery light. Our Army Air Force flew many missions to north of the Regimental sector.

December 31 1944
Sector same, enemy very quiet.

January 1 1945
At 0001, both sides welcomed the new year with artillery and mortar. The remainder of the period was quiet.

January 2 1945
At 0600, the 1/506 started to march from Savy to the 2/506 where they were to take over the latter’s positions and secure the left flank as the 2/506 moved forward. The column being attacked in Luzery by enemy planes in which attack 3 casualties were sustained. At 0930, the 2/506 attacked trough the Bois Jacques to the Foy Mageret direction, 1200 M to the north.

Little resistance was encountered until the objective and area some 200 M to the south was reached. Resistance was strong initially, but of short duration. At 1530 the objective was taken. Fox 506 in contact, Able 506 and Easy 506 in the center, Dog 506 in the right doing patrols with 501-PIR at 2013. That day, 7 more Krauts were taken.

January 3 1945
At 1500, the 2/506 having taken over 1/506’s positions, the latter started marching toward Savy reverting to Division Reserve at 1730, closing in at 1800. Enemy artillery, mortar and nebelwerfer was on the uptrend. 2 PWs were taken that day.

December 4 1945
The Division having decided to withdraw to the old MLR along the Foy-Bizory Road, this was accomplished, the 2/506 being relived by the 501-PIR at 2130 and repairing to the Regiment reserve in wood north of Luzery and west of the Bastogne – Noville Highway. The 3/506 remained in its sector.

January 5 1945
At the commencement of the period, the 3/506 manned the line south of Recogne – Foy. The 2/506 was in Regimental Reserve and the 1/506 was in Savy in Division Reserve.
During the afternoon, the 2/506 displaced 2000 M west to another wooded reserve area closing at 1509.

January 6 1945
The 1/506 moved to Savy at 1840 in order to relieve the 2/502 on that portion of the MLR running southwest from Monaville to the 3/506 area south of Recogne.

January 7 1945
The Regimental positions remained the same. The Fazone Woods were patrolled intensively.

January 8 1945
The day passed with little incident, save an extremely heavy snow storm.

January 9 1945
At 0500, the relief of the 3/506 by the 3/501 commenced. At 0908 when completed the 3/506 moved to forward assembly area in woods south of Bonne-Fontaine. At 1018, the Regimental CP closed in the 1/506 CP at Bonne-Fontaine.

At 1100, the regiment with the Task Force Cherry of the 10-AD attached, attacked after an artillery preparation with the mission of cleaning the Bois de Fazone to the draw in southeast of Vaux, an area some 2500 M in length and 1000 M in large. The 2/506 moved at 1100 inside the Fazone Woods followed by the 3/506 which, passing trough the rear took position on the left.

At 1110, Easy 506 took an enemy platoon prisoner. This was the last enemy encountered until the 3/506 liquidated 4 small enemy outposts at 1300.

The 1/506 having been passed trough by 502-PIR which was attacking the Bois de Assins to the left of the Bois de Fazone, staring moving behind the 2/506 as Regimental Reserve at 1345. The Regimental objective was reached by 1630, after having received heavy artillery, mortar and Tank fire. From 1800 on, the enemy shelled our positions. 39 PWs were taken this date.

Janvier 10 1945
The enemy artillery and other fire increased markedly around 0230, at which time the enemy combat patrol of 20 men supported by 2 platoons attacked our positions being repelled at cost to them. The 326-AEB (Engineer), as in the past, cut a considerable amount of logs which were used by the Regiment as Foxhole covers.

At 0830, the 1/506 moved 1300 M to the southwest due to especially heavy artillery in their area. At 1430, it having been determined to withdraw to the old MLR with the 1/506 taking their old sector, the 2/506 taking their old positions and the 3/506 going to Regimental Reserve in Savy, withdrawal was commenced.

At 1730, the 1/506 closed, the 2/506 and the 3/506 leaving at 1830 reached their new areas at 2300. Casualties from enemy artillery the previous night and early morning was 126. 4 PWs was taken this day.

January 11 1945
The Regimental CP leaving Bonne-Fontaine, closed in Hemroulle on the Champs – Bastogne Road. The 1/506 patrolled extensively while enemy fire was light.

January 12 1945
At 1800, the 3/506 left Savy to relieve the 3/327 (Glider) in the Recogne – Foy defensive sector. Relieve was complete at 2112. Enemy artillery remained light.

January 13 1945
The Regimental CP closed 2000 M West of Luzery on the Bastogne – Foy Road. Easy 506 having been attached to 3/506 moved during the morning to their area. At 0900, Easy 506 attacked Foy meeting increasing resistance as they entered the town from the west. At 1015, Item 506 attacked the town from the south, the Foy – Bastogne Road. By 1100, both companies were well into the town and approximately 23 prisoners having been taken. At 1113, Fox 506 was attached to the 3/506 and ordered to take over How 506 positions just south of Foy, the later moving to Foy to assist Easy and Item 506 in the attack. The town was cleared at 1630, Easy 506 was released to 2/506 at 1730. At 1800, the defense of the town was George 506 on the old MLR, How, Item and Fox 506 in the defense perimeter with Fox Co in contact with the 501-PIR. Shelling of the town continued and 69 PWs were taken during this operation.

January 14 1945
The enemy attacking with 6 or 7 Tanks with accompanying infantry at 0415, our force under continued pressure withdrew to the old MLR at 0600 to reorganize. The 2/506 as alerted at this time and moved to a line extending from the 3/506 CP to Foy Road to the rear of the 3/506 positions. At 0900, CCB 10-AD passed through our lines to Foy. The 2/506 assembled at 1220 and started moving towards Cobru at 1300.

At 1300, the 1/506 moved forwards from the MLR some 2500 M through the Fazone Woods to the high ground overlooking Cobru. The 3/506 followed the 1/506, stopping with their lead elements about 1000 M past the MLR in the vicinity of the Etang de Fazone. Their mission being to contact the 1/506 and the 17-A/B, the former solidly the later by patrol. Both, 3/506 and 1/506 were in position by 1500.

The 2/506 having received some artillery and mortar fire on entering Cobru, heavier fire in attacking the high wooded hill to the east of that town and south of Noville. Their final disposition at 1800 were Easy 506 on the south edge of Noville, with Dog and Fox 506 on left and right of the high ground. Contact was continuous across Regimental and adjacent unit front. 5 PWs were accounted for this day.

January 15 1945
At 0600, the 1/501 was attacked and moved into the woods at Bonne-Fontaine. At 1030, the 1/506 attacked from the Frazene Woods about 1500 M across open field seizing the wooded ground directly southwest of Cobru. Formation : Able, Baker and Charlie 506 echeloned to the right rear. Simultaneously, the 2/506 attacked Noville taking and establishing a defense perimeter in the town.

The 3/506 occupying the old positions vacated by the 1/506 in the Frazene Woods, theirs was taken by the 3/501. The Regimental CP now moving, closed in Recogne at 1400. 17 PWs were taken that day.

January 16 1945
At 0930, the Battalions attacked with objectives along the line Neuf-Moulins, 4500 M northeast of Noville, along the Bastogne, Foy, Houffalize highway to Rachamps, 2500 M along and 1500 M east of the same highway. A reserve was to be established at Wicourt. A considerable amount of open ground covered in their advance with objectives being reached at 1800; the 3/506 Neuf-Moulins area, the 2/506 Rachamps, the 1/506 high ground between the 2/506, the 3/506 and the 3/501 in Wicourt.

The enemy was particularly sensitive to the loss of Rachamps. Attached for this movement were Able Co of the 811-TDB, Baker Co of the 705-TDB and a Recon Co from the 705-TDB. Regimental CP closed in Vaux at 1505. 88 PWs were taken in today’s operations.

January 17 1945
The Battalions remained in the same position while the sector was quiet. At 1315, the 3/501 reverted to 501-PIR. At 1950, the 17-A/B started relieving the 1/506 and the 3/506. This was completed at 2110. At 2130, the 2/506 was ordered back to Regimental bivouac to be established in woods south of Recogne and Bonne-Fontaine. All Battalions closed by 2400. 5 PWs were taken today.

Januay 18 1945
At 0800, the 506-PIR left the assembly area by truck for the La Petite Rosière area, 10 KM south of Sibret where they established in Corps Reserve. The Regimental CP left Vaux and closed in La Petite Rosière at 1000. At 1700 the Regiment was placed on alert for move to south to 7-A Sector.

January 19 1945
Remained in La Petite Rosière. All units alerted and ready for move. Advance Party left for vicinity Sarrebourg at 0800.

January 20 1945
At 0900, troops started loading in 10 tons trucks for move. By 1200 all troops at cleared IP.

January 21 1945
At 0030, the Regimental CP opened in Dimeringen. At 1350 the first troops arrived. The convoy was badly broken up due to road conditions. By 2230, all but 2 trucks and one medical vehicle had closed in their areas. The 1/506 was located in Weisslingen, the 2/506 was located in Waldhambach and the 3/506 was in Dineringen. Division Reserve in same location.

22 to 25 January 1945
During this period the Regiment remained in Division Reserve in the same locations.

January 26 1945
At 0830 the Regiment moved by truck convoy to Wickersheim. The Regimental CP opened there at 1330. All units had closed by 1445.

January 27 1945
Regiment remained in Division Reserve.

January 28 1945
At 1245, the 3/506 moved by marching to Lixhausen closing there at 1440. At 1330, the 1/506 moved to Bossendorf closing at 1440.

January 29 1945
Troops location same. Regiment in Division Reserve.

January 30 1945
At 1300, the 2/506 moved to Grassendorf closing there at 1515. The Regimental CP moved to Ettendorf opening there at 1615.

January 31 1945
At 1200, A and F Batteries 81-AAAB and the 807-TDB (- 3rd Platoon) were attached to the Regiment in preparation of relief of the 409-IR of the 103-ID. At 1800, the 1/506 and the 3/506 started moving by truck to forward positions in the vicinity of Pfaffennhoffen and Niedermodern. By 2145, Battalions had completed relief of the 409-IR on the line in sector with the 1/506 on the left and the 3/506 on the right. The 2/506 remained in reserve in Grassendorf.

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

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