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4 de diciembre de 1944

4 de diciembre de 1944

4 de diciembre de 1944

Diciembre de 1944

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Acción masiva

De Acción Laboral, Vol. 8 No. 49, 4 de diciembre de 1944, p. & # 1602.
Transcrito y marcado por Einde O & # 8217 Callaghan para el Enciclopedia del trotskismo en línea (ETOL).

Trabajador diario y George Bass

La semana pasada escribimos en esta columna sobre la derrota de George Bass en las elecciones locales de Goodrich en Akron. Señalamos el hecho de que Bass fue derrotado por los miembros más conservadores del local, que fueron liderados por un puñado de reaccionarios tijera, actuando en alianza con los laboristas. Diario de Akron Beacon. Como era de esperar, Browder & # 8217s Communist Political Association (Partido Comunista) ha salido en su Trabajador diario en apoyo de estos reaccionarios y de la Beacon Journal.

los Trabajador diario El 27 de noviembre llama a la derrota de Bass & # 8220buenas noticias de Akron. & # 8221 Bass es un & # 8220pro-trotskista & # 8221 que fue derrotado a través & # 8220 del entendimiento patriótico de los trabajadores de Goodrich. & # 8221 Comercio & # 8220 sindicalistas leales a la política de no huelga del CIO y a los intereses nacionales que defiende, rechazó el pulgar hacia él (Bass) y sus secuaces trotskistas. & # 8221 El & # 8220 repudio patriótico de Bass debería ser una señal para todos los partidarios del CIO en el CIO para dar la misma medicina a sus compañeros de viaje en sus filas. & # 8221 Con esto, el Trabajador diario significa que lo que llama los trabajadores & # 8220patriotas & # 8221 deben votar en contra de la rescisión del compromiso de no huelga en el próximo referéndum del UAW.
 

Por qué Bass fue derrotado

Bass no fue derrotado por & # 8220el entendimiento patriótico de los trabajadores de Goodrich & # 8221. Fue derrotado porque un pequeño grupo de reaccionarios jugó hábil y muy descaradamente con el atraso y la falta de & # 8220 comprensión & # 8221 de un gran grupo de trabajadores que por una razón u otra no estaban activos en el local. Fueron acogidos por estas tijerasBeacon Journal títeres que en realidad no estaban peleando las batallas de los trabajadores de Goodrich sino la batalla de Goodrich Rubber Co. Ganaron, no porque estos trabajadores de base quieran una dirección reaccionaria, sino porque las tijeras los organizaron y las fuerzas de Bass no. Comentamos esto en Acción Laboral la semana pasada.
 

Los miembros del Partido de los Trabajadores no son & # 8220Henchmen & # 8221

No estamos seguros de lo que Trabajador diario significa Bass & # 8217 & # 8220; secuaces trotskistas. & # 8221 Si se refieren a miembros del Workers Party, queremos decir que los miembros del Workers Party no actúan como & # 8220henchmen & # 8221 para nadie en los sindicatos. Además, los miembros del Partido de los Trabajadores no actúan como secuaces de Roosevelt y del Partido Demócrata. Tampoco actuamos como secuaces del Partido Republicano. No actuamos como secuaces de Hague en Nueva Jersey, de los podridos líderes de Tammany en la ciudad de Nueva York, de Kelly en Chicago, de Bilbo en Mississippi o de Willkie en 1940.

Los miembros del Partido de los Trabajadores no actuaron como & # 8220henchmen & # 8221 para Hitler y nunca lo harán. Nunca hemos hecho un pacto con este carnicero fascista y nunca lo haremos. Nunca hemos hecho un pacto con el FBI ni hemos pedido al gobierno que rechace el papel de periódico para un periódico laboral.

Los miembros del Partido de los Trabajadores nunca fueron secuaces de John L. Lewis. No organizamos una ovación de cuarenta y cinco minutos para Lewis en la convención del CIO en 1941. No nos opusimos a Murray para presidente del CIO y luego pasamos los siguientes tres años arrastrándose por su pantalón tratando de hacerle olvidar eso una vez fuimos & # 8220henchmen & # 8221 de Lewis que ahora estaban dispuestos a lamer las botas de Murray & # 8217s si tan sólo nos dejara.

No, no fueron & # 8217t los & # 8220 trotskistas & # 8221 quienes hicieron estas cosas. Fue Browder & # 8217s Communist Political Association (Partido Comunista) & # 8211 secuaces de Stalin, Eric Johnston, Hitler, Partido Demócrata, Partido Republicano, Asociación Nacional de Fabricantes, la policía y los empleadores.
 

Profundas diferencias entre los comunistas y el Partido de los Trabajadores

No, los & # 8220Trotskistas & # 8221 no & # 8217t actúan como & # 8220 secuaces & # 8221. Tampoco nos arrastramos a través del movimiento obrero con un hacha en una mano y limo y suciedad en la otra. Browder, los estalinistas y los Trabajador diario tienen prioridad indiscutible en ese campo. Los miembros del Partido de los Trabajadores en los sindicatos están en contra del fascismo y siempre lo han estado. Luchamos contra el fascismo, no hacemos concesiones ni hacemos pactos con el fascismo.

Estuvimos y seguimos en contra de la promesa de no huelga. Estamos a favor de la militancia en los sindicatos, por la negociación colectiva real y las decisiones democráticas de los miembros del sindicato. No somos partidarios de la guerra, porque es una guerra imperialista para beneficio y engrandecimiento imperialista. Estas cosas deben quedar claras incluso para los sinvergüenzas que editan el Trabajador diario. Nuestras ideas y nuestro programa han sido publicados en Acción Laboral semana tras semana.

Los miembros del Partido de los Trabajadores son fieles partidarios del movimiento obrero: del CIO y de la AFL. Les damos a estos trabajadores nuestras ideas y nuestro programa: el programa del sindicalismo democrático y militante, el programa del socialismo revolucionario. Defendemos la acción política independiente de y para la clase trabajadora. Hemos defendido y seguimos defendiendo que los sindicatos organicen un Partido Laborista independiente de masas.
 

El programa necesario para los progresistas de hoy

No somos & # 8220henchmen & # 8221. Vamos a las filas laborales como parte integral y leal del movimiento sindical. Difundimos nuestras ideas y nuestro programa. Este es nuestro derecho, nuestro deber y nuestra responsabilidad. El Partido de los Trabajadores no está de acuerdo con el programa actual del movimiento sindical organizado sobre la guerra, el compromiso de no huelga, el WLB y la renuncia a la negociación colectiva. Creemos, y hay miles de trabajadores militantes que están de acuerdo con nosotros, que tal programa solo puede conducir a la derrota de los trabajadores.

Esto es lo que dijimos en esta columna la semana pasada a George Bass ya otros líderes militantes de base en los sindicatos. Tienen el deber y la responsabilidad de considerar estas cosas con seriedad. No vivimos en la era de los caballos y los carruajes de la lucha de clases. Las demandas a la dirección sindical son diferentes. Deben convertirse no solo en líderes sindicales militantes, sino en líderes políticos que guíen al movimiento obrero en el camino hacia la acción política independiente de la clase trabajadora. Si fracasan en esto, los sindicatos no pueden ni escaparán de las garras de los secuaces de Stalin o de la victoria de los tijeras más reaccionarios y atrasados.


22 de diciembre de 1944 Ángel olvidado

La Batalla de las Ardenas es una historia familiar: la masiva ofensiva alemana que estalla en el bosque helado de las Ardenas. 16 de diciembre de 1944. El impulso desesperado por capturar el puerto belga de Amberes, vital para los esfuerzos de reabastecimiento de Alemania.

El terreno se consideró inadecuado para tal ataque. La sorpresa táctica fue completa, las fuerzas británicas y estadounidenses se separaron y retrocedieron, sus posiciones formaron un "bulto" interno en los mapas de batalla en tiempo de guerra.

La historia de los “Maltratados Bastardos” es igualmente bien conocida. 22.800 estadounidenses, superados en número en cinco a uno en algunos lugares y rodeados, en la lucha a vida o muerte para mantener la encrucijada indispensable de Bastogne. La demanda alemana de rendición, del 22 de diciembre. La respuesta del general estadounidense Anthony McAuliffe. La respuesta de una palabra, "Nuts", la jerga estadounidense, confunde a la delegación alemana.

El asedio de Bastogne duraría otros cuatro días, y el cerco alemán fue finalmente roto por elementos del 3.er ejército de George S. Patton. A fines de enero, el último gran esfuerzo de las armas alemanas se gastó y se hizo retroceder detrás de las líneas originales.

El historiador Stephen Ambrose escribió "Band of Brothers" casi cincuenta años después, un relato de no ficción que luego se transmitió como una miniserie de HBO, del mismo nombre. La historia se refiere a una enfermera negra llamada Anna. Hay una breve aparición y luego se va. Nadie sabía quién era Anna, ni siquiera si era real.

Sesenta y un años después de Bastogne, el historiador militar Martin King estaba investigando para un libro, Voices of the Bulge. Llamaron a la puerta en octubre de 2007, en un hogar geriátrico en las afueras de Bruselas.

En los meses posteriores a la Gran Guerra, Henri Chiwy (pronunciado "SHE-wee") era veterinario y trabajaba en la colonia belga del Estado Libre del Congo. El nombre de la mujer congoleña que dio a luz a su hijo no está registrado, el nombre de su niña, Augusta Marie.

Augusta Chiwy regresó a Bélgica cuando tenía nueve años, una de las más afortunadas de los miles nacidos de padres europeos y madres africanas. De regreso a la casa del médico en Bastogne, un pequeño pueblo de 9.000 habitantes donde Augusta era amada y cuidada por su padre y su hermana, a quienes la niña conocía como "tía Caroline".

Augusta fue educada y criada como católica. Ella siempre quiso enseñar pero, debido a las rancias actitudes raciales de esa época y lugar, no estaría bien que una mujer negra enseñara a niños blancos. En cambio, se convirtió en enfermera, por consejo de su padre y su hermano, un conocido médico de Bastogne.

La escuela de enfermería estaba a unos 160 kilómetros al norte. Augusta se convirtió en enfermera calificada en 1943 y regresó a casa al año siguiente para la Navidad. Llegó el 16 de diciembre, el día en que Adolf Hitler lanzó su ofensiva sorpresa.

Bastogne pronto fue rodeada, parte de una de las batallas más feroces y sangrientas de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Los soldados estadounidenses mal equipados fueron superados en número de cinco a uno. Estos chicos ni siquiera tenían uniformes de invierno.

El doctor del ejército estadounidense Jack Prior estaba desesperado, el edificio abandonado sirvió como estación de ayuda militar, hogar de unos 100 soldados heridos. Treinta de ellos resultaron gravemente heridos. Sin prácticamente ningún equipo médico o medicamentos y el único otro oficial médico que era un dentista de Ohio, el Dr. Prior necesitaba urgentemente ayuda de enfermería.

Augusta Chiwy no dudó en ofrecerse como voluntaria, sabiendo muy bien que sería ejecutada si la atrapaban.

Escena de la miniserie de HBO, "A Band of Brothers"

Las condiciones de trabajo fueron espantosas en las semanas siguientes. Sin instrumental quirúrgico y sin anestesia, se realizaron amputaciones y otros procedimientos con navaja, con coñac para aliviar el dolor del paciente. En la víspera de Navidad, un impacto directo de una bomba de 500 libras golpeó el edificio de un hospital, matando instantáneamente a docenas de soldados heridos y a la única otra enfermera, Renée Lemaire. Ella sería recordada como "El ángel de Bastogne".

Augusta Chiwy estaba en un edificio vecino en ese momento. La explosión hizo volar a la pequeña enfermera a través de una pared pero, ilesa, se levantó y volvió al trabajo. Hubo heridas espantosas y muchos murieron debido a instalaciones médicas inadecuadas, pero muchos sobrevivieron, sus familias se reunieron gracias al trabajo incansable del Dr. Jack Prior y la enfermera Augusta Chiwy.

Dado el mes de infierno que la pareja había pasado, Augusta se rompió el corazón cuando el Dr. Prior tuvo que mudarse, en enero. La pareja intercambió direcciones y se mantuvo en contacto, escribiendo cartas e intercambiando pequeños obsequios, como dulces. Se vieron por última vez en 2004, cuando el Dr. Prior regresó de su estado natal de Vermont, para el 50 aniversario de la Batalla de las Ardenas.

Augusta Chiwy sufría síntomas de trastorno de estrés postraumático, una condición poco conocida en ese momento. Pasaba largos períodos sin hablar, volviéndose callada y retraída incluso años después. Se casó con un soldado belga en 1959 y la pareja tuvo dos hijos. Pasarían veinte años antes de que reanudara su carrera de enfermería. Casi nunca habló de su experiencia en Bastogne.

El ángel olvidado de Bastogne tenía ochenta y seis años cuando llamaron a la puerta de esa residencia de ancianos belga. El historiador escocés tardó meses en sacarle la historia.

Gracias a los esfuerzos de King, Augusta Chiwy finalmente recibiría el reconocimiento que se había ganado.

“El 24 de junio de 2011, el rey Alberto II de Bélgica la nombró Caballero de la Orden de la Corona. Seis meses después recibió el Premio Civil al Servicio Humanitario del Ejército de los Estados Unidos. Y el 21 de marzo de 2014, Augusta fue reconocida por su ciudad natal como Ciudadana de Honor de Bastogne ”. http://www.augustachiwy.org

Cuando se le preguntaba sobre su heroísmo, siempre decía lo mismo: "Solo hice lo que tenía que hacer.”

Augusta Marie Chiwy murió pacíficamente mientras dormía a la edad de 94 años, el 23 de agosto de 2015. Nunca se sabrá cuántas vidas se habrían truncado. Pero por los esfuerzos desinteresados ​​e incansables, del Ángel Olvidado de Bastogne.


De especial interés para las mujeres

De Acción Laboral, Vol. 8 No. 49, 4 de diciembre de 1944, p. & # 1604.
Transcrito y marcado por Einde O & # 8217 Callaghan para el Enciclopedia del trotskismo en línea (ETOL).

Saca esos libros bancarios y esos bonos y sellos de guerra. Sácalos de debajo del colchón o de la jarra en el estante superior de la cocina. Sáquelos, ábralos y déjenos ver & # 8211, de alguna manera u otra, los ahorros en tiempos de guerra de alrededor de $ 130,000,000,000 deben contabilizarse.

Sí, eso es lo que nos dicen. Durante los tres o cuatro años de guerra, se han salado $ 130,000,000,000 en dichos. ¡Un registro de antecedentes agradable y cómodo! Ningún lobo feroz puede asustarnos a los estadounidenses con esos $ 130,000,000,000 para usar en un día lluvioso.

Pero espere un segundo. ¿Comparten los & # 8220us estadounidenses & # 8221 por igual estos ahorros del boom de la guerra? Harvey E. Runner, editor comercial de la New York Herald Tribune, nos da una idea de cómo se divide este enorme botín de tiempos de guerra. Él dice:

& # 8220Estima que colocan solo entre $ 7,000,000,000 y $ 8,000,000,000 en ahorros con familias que ganan menos de $ 3,000 anualmente. Este grupo representa aproximadamente el setenta y cinco por ciento de la población total. & # 8221

No es de extrañar que su cuenta bancaria y sus pocos bonos de guerra parezcan menos que una gota en el balde. Según las cifras del Sr. Runner, el setenta y cinco por ciento de la población tiene sólo una participación del cinco al seis por ciento de los ahorros de tiempos de guerra. El otro noventa y cuatro o noventa y cinco por ciento está en las cartas de guerra de la minoría del veinticinco por ciento, y cuanto más ricos son, más salados tienen.

¡Entonces vemos una vez más cómo la guerra imperialista tiene favoritos!

Si desglosamos un poco más las cifras de Mr. Runner & # 8217, ¿qué tenemos?

El setenta y cinco por ciento de la población en el tramo de ingresos de menos de $ 3,000 consiste en más de 20,000,000 de familias estadounidenses & # 8211 y dado que el Señor bendice a los pobres con niños, estas son las familias más grandes. Haciendo una división un poco larga, encontramos, según las cifras del Sr. Runner, que durante los tres o cuatro años de guerra, más de 20.000.000 de familias podrían ahorrar en promedio sólo $ 300. ¡Eso es lo ricas que las ha hecho la guerra!

Ahora bien, ¿qué pasa con algunas de las quimeras de las compras de posguerra? ¿Quién va a hacer la compra? Las madres de estas 20,000,0000 familias pueden obtener lavadoras, aspiradoras, muebles muy necesarios, ropa para sus hijos, médicos vitales & # 8217 y dentistas & # 8217 servicios & # 8211 por no hablar de ese piano para la niña. tomar lecciones, un anticipo de un automóvil, o tal vez también de una casa de posguerra que se supone que todo el mundo debe comprar a reparto?

Las amas de casa de la clase trabajadora han aprendido a estirar mucho el dinero, a fuerza de necesidad, pero no pueden hacer milagros. La pequeña minoría a la que favoreció la guerra disfrutará de las cosas que los trabajadores necesitan & # 8211 mientras las madres vigilan sus miserables $ 300 para usar en una emergencia familiar.

La gran charla sobre el flujo de leche y miel después de la guerra no engaña a ninguna ama de casa de clase trabajadora mientras mira su microscópico saldo bancario. Su esperanza está en las demandas laborales de un salario anual garantizado, de pleno empleo y de una amplia seguridad social. Sus esfuerzos deben realizarse para ganar un gobierno de los trabajadores y # 8217 a través del cual se puedan cumplir las demandas laborales, # 8217,

París es hoy una ciudad de pobreza y privación, como todo el mundo sabe. No solo la población está demacrada y demacrada por años de chupadores de sangre nazis, sino que las perspectivas actuales son ciertamente sombrías. El pan es tan escaso que es un carbón de lujo y otros combustibles para el invierno prácticamente no existen prendas de abrigo o ropa de ningún tipo que brille por su ausencia. Esa es una foto de París.

Otro nos lo traen las reporteras que escriben sobre los hermosos desfiles de moda en los salones de París y las fotografías de las hermosas creaciones que se exhiben allí. Nada es demasiado lujoso para las modas que las mujeres trabajadoras nunca usarán. Hay hermosos abrigos completamente cortados, pieles deslumbrantes. vestidos con faldas de yardas y yardas de ancho y con mangas onduladas, sombreros grandes & # 8211 todo indica que no faltan telas para quienes pueden pagarlas.

Y hay quienes pueden. Los salones están abarrotados. Los modistos están haciendo un negocio de bonanza. Los precios son increíblemente altos, no en términos de francos, sino de dólares estadounidenses. Y los clientes son todos franceses, hoy no hay clientes de países extranjeros.

¡Esa es otra foto de París!

A los elementos serios que componen el movimiento de resistencia francés, compuesto por trabajadores, no les gusta ninguna de las imágenes. ¡Miseria como de costumbre para los trabajadores y # 8211 lujo como de costumbre para los explotadores! No es por eso que lucharon contra el nazismo. Quieren el tipo de sociedad que satisfaga las necesidades de todos primero y luego los lujos también para todos. Sin embargo, De Gaulle y Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin, quienes lo respaldan, están dispuestos a desarmar el movimiento de resistencia y sacarle toda la resistencia & # 8211 para que la sociedad de clases de pobres y ricos pueda mantenerse.


Cronología de la historia de Mississippi

1944: Comienza la construcción del modelo de la cuenca del río Mississippi en Clinton

Uno de los modelos hidráulicos más grandes jamás construido, el modelo de la cuenca del río Mississippi fue construido por el Cuerpo de Ingenieros del Ejército en la Estación Experimental de Vías Navegables. La mano de obra en las primeras fases del proyecto fue proporcionada por prisioneros de guerra de Camp Clinton.

29 de febrero de 1944: las fuerzas estadounidenses lanzan una campaña en las islas del Almirantazgo cerca de Nueva Guinea

Imagen: El teniente W. O. Harrell, USNR, adquirió esta chaqueta de uniforme japonés durante la construcción de una base estadounidense después de que se aseguraron las islas.

3 de abril de 1944: la Corte Suprema de EE. UU. Abolió las primarias "solo para blancos" en Smith v. Allwright

Las primarias sólo para blancos fueron un medio para que el Partido Demócrata de Texas evitara que los no blancos se unieran al partido. El tribunal encontró que tales prácticas violaban los derechos constitucionales de los votantes no blancos.

30 de mayo de 1944: el cabo James D. Slaton de Laurel recibió la Medalla de Honor del Congreso por su acción el 23 de septiembre de 1943

6 de junio de 1944: las fuerzas aliadas invaden Europa en Normandía, Francia

La exitosa invasión de Normandía, o "Día D", fue el punto de inflexión en la guerra para los Aliados.

Imagen: La ametralladora MP40 fue utilizada ampliamente por las fuerzas alemanas durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

13 de junio de 1944: las fuerzas estadounidenses aterrizan en Saipán en las Islas Marianas

Imagen: Esta Estrella de Bronce con un dispositivo & # 8220V & # 8221 por su valor fue otorgada póstumamente al Cabo de la Marina William J. Doolittle, muerto en acción en Saipan.

22 de junio de 1944: el presidente Franklin D. Roosevelt firma a G.I. Factura

La Ley de reajuste de los militares ayudó a los veteranos a regresar a la vida civil al brindarles educación y capacitación, garantías de préstamos y asistencia laboral.

Agosto de 1944: propuesta de Constitución Choctaw enviada a Washington

6 de agosto de 1944: los primeros prisioneros de guerra alemanes llegan a Camp Clinton

Camp Clinton fue uno de los cuatro campos de prisioneros de guerra en Mississippi. También hubo 15 subcampos en todo el estado.

2 de octubre de 1944: Primera cosecha de algodón producida sin mano de obra en Hopson Planting Company cerca de Clarksdale.

Las máquinas habían plantado el algodón y cortado, y ocho recolectores de algodón de International Harvester recogieron la cosecha.

2 de octubre de 1944: Tech. Sargento. Van T. Barfoot de Edinburg recibió la Medalla de Honor del Congreso por sus acciones el 23 de mayo de 1944

19 de octubre de 1944: Jackson Symphony Orchestra realiza el concierto inaugural en el Hotel Heidelberg.

La orquesta pasó a llamarse Orquesta Sinfónica de Mississippi en 1989.

23-26 de octubre de 1944: batalla del golfo de Leyte cerca de Filipinas

Leyte Gulf fue la batalla naval más grande de la historia. El acorazado USS Mississippi ayudó a destruir un grupo de trabajo japonés en el Estrecho de Suriago durante esta batalla, disparando la última salva en el último combate acorazado contra acorazado en la historia.

Imagen: El USS Mississippi enarbolaba esta bandera durante la batalla del estrecho de Suriago, uno de los cuatro enfrentamientos que componen la batalla del golfo de Leyte.

25 de octubre de 1944: el Capitán Louis H. Wilson, Jr. de Brandon recibió la Medalla de Honor del Congreso por acción el 25 y 26 de julio de 1944

4 de diciembre de 1944: el Secretario del Interior establece una reserva para Choctaws

16 de diciembre de 1944: Comienza la Batalla de Bulge.

La batalla terrestre más grande de Europa que involucra a las tropas estadounidenses, la Batalla de las Ardenas se libró en Bélgica y Luxemburgo cuando las fuerzas alemanas montaron una ofensiva sorpresa dirigida a Amberes.

Imagen: T4 George C. Sargent de Bentonia usó esta chaqueta de uniforme durante su servicio en la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Participó en las batallas por Renania y Europa central, así como en las Ardenas.


Una breve historia del regimiento real de Leicestershire

Al estallar la Segunda Guerra Mundial en septiembre de 1939, el 1er Batallón estaba en India y el 2do Batallón en Palestina, comprometidos en la rebelión árabe. En casa se habían movilizado los dos Batallones Territoriales, el 1/5 y el 2/5. Cuando terminó la guerra, los batallones Regiment & rsquos habían servido en acción en todos los escenarios de la guerra, un récord que se dice que es único.

El 1er Batallón permaneció en la India hasta febrero de 1941, cuando se trasladó a Penang. En mayo navegó hacia el continente de Malaya y fue estacionado en Sungei Patani. Cuando Japón declaró la guerra el 7 de diciembre de 1941, el Batallón estaba en posición en Jitra. En la noche del 10/11 de diciembre se estableció contacto con el enemigo y desde entonces el Batallón estuvo continuamente en acción hasta la rendición final de Singapur en febrero de 1942. Durante este tiempo el Batallón luchó duro y bien contra un enemigo poco conocido. Continuamente se aislaba a grupos de hombres, pero en la mayoría de los casos luchaban para volver al cuerpo principal. Debido a las numerosas bajas en ambos batallones, el 20 de diciembre el 1er Batallón se fusionó con el 2º Batallón del Regimiento de East Surrey para formar el famoso Batallón Británico. Las acciones que siempre serán recordadas se libraron en Jitra, Kampar, Bata-Pa-Hat y Gurun Road. Cuando las Fuerzas Británicas de la Commonwealth en Singapur se rindieron a los japoneses en febrero de 1942, los hombres del Batallón Británico se convirtieron en prisioneros de guerra hasta 1945.

En septiembre de 1939, el 2º Batallón de Palestina formó parte y, excepto en Creta en 1941, permaneció con la 16ª Brigada de Infantería durante toda la guerra. En septiembre de 1940 se trasladó al Desierto Occidental y participó en diciembre & ldquopush & rdquo de Wavell & rsquos 30,000. Se entabló en Sidi Barrani y nuevamente en Bardia, avanzando a través de Buq Buq y Solhuh. En abril de 1941 ayudó a detener el avance alemán en Mersa Matruh. Desde allí fue trasladado en dos cruceros a Heraklion para participar en la amarga lucha en la batalla de mayo de Creta contra los paracaidistas alemanes. Después de ser evacuado a Egipto, el Batallón se apresuró a marcharse en junio de 1941 para luchar contra los franceses de Vichy en el frente de Damasco como parte de la 6ª (más tarde renumerada 70ª) División. En septiembre de 1941, el Batallón fue enviado con el resto de la División para relevar a los australianos en la defensa de Tobruk. Allí permaneció durante tres meses y participó en la fuga e hizo contacto posterior con el 8º Ejército recién formado.

Dejando el Desierto Occidental en diciembre de 1941, el 2. ° Batallón fue a Ceilán en febrero de 1942 y junto con la 16. ° Brigada de Infantería se reincorporó a la 70.a División en la India en enero de 1943. En agosto, la División pasó a formar parte de la Fuerza Especial del General de División Orde Wingate & rsquos (los Chindits). En enero de 1944, el batallón marchó hacia Birmania desde Ledo Road con la 16a brigada de infantería, la marcha épica sobre las colinas de Naga hasta el río Chindwin, que recibió del general Wingate la señal & ldquoBien hecho Leicestershire Regiment & ndash Hannibal eclipsed & rdquo; el batallón participó con distinción en varias batallas alrededor de Indaw, unas doscientas millas detrás de las líneas enemigas y rsquos. Para cuando salió volando en mayo de 1944, había recorrido unas 500 millas a pie con transporte de mulas únicamente y con el apoyo total del suministro de aire.

El Batallón, que posteriormente incorporó al 7º Batallón (también regresado de las hazañas de Chindit), no volvió a entrar en acción. Los japoneses se rindieron ante la planeada invasión de Malaya, en la que debía participar el Batallón.

El 1/5 Batallón realizó su entrenamiento en el condado de Durham y en abril de 1940 participó en el desembarco en Noruega y la posterior retirada. Luego se trasladó a Irlanda del Norte y en julio de 1942 a Wrotham, en Kent. Desde entonces hasta el final de la guerra se dedicó a la formación Pre-OCTU.

El 2/5 Batallón, también movilizado en 1939, fue a Francia en 1940 como parte de la 46.a División y, después de ser evacuado a través de Dunkerque, pasó 2 años y medio en Inglaterra. En enero de 1943, el Batallón participó en el primer desembarco del ejército y rsquos en el norte de África, y se produjeron numerosas bajas en el Kassarine. A continuación, el Batallón vio acción en Salerno en Italia, seguida de acciones en el cruce de los ríos Volturna y Teano, y en el Monte Camino. Pasó la primera mitad de 1944 en el Medio Oriente, entrenando, reequipando y mejorando. Regresó a Italia a tiempo para participar en la batalla contra la Línea Gótica en agosto de 1944. En diciembre de 1944 el Batallón fue trasladado por aire a Atenas, donde participó en los combates y permaneció hasta que el gobierno griego fue restaurado en el Epiro. Luego regresó a Italia y después del Armisticio se trasladó a Austria, donde permaneció hasta la disolución.

El 7º Batallón se formó en Nottingham en julio de 1940, y su primer papel fue la defensa de la playa. En septiembre de 1942 se embarcó rumbo a la India. El Batallón fue seleccionado como el único batallón no regular del General Wingate & rsquos Chindits, siendo el Regimiento uno de los pocos que tiene dos Batallones en la Fuerza Chindit. En abril de 1944, el batallón estaba firmemente asentado en la retaguardia japonesa, donde permaneció durante cinco meses y estuvo dando vueltas, creando estragos en las comunicaciones japonesas y emboscando refuerzos, hasta que se retiró en agosto.

Después de que sus hombres exhaustos fueron dispersados ​​a hospitales de toda la India para recibir tratamiento y rehabilitación, el Batallón se volvió a formar en Bangalore. Pero habían sido tan grandes las bajas sufridas por él y el 2º Batallón, que se decidió que los del 7º Batallón que estaban en condiciones de prestar servicio debían ser transferidos al 2º Batallón, y el 31 de diciembre de 1944 el 7º Batallón dejó de existir.

El 8º Batallón, formado en Leicestershire en 1940, cambió su designación a 1º Batallón en mayo de 1942, para reemplazar y continuar la alta tradición del antiguo 1º que se perdió cuando cayó Singapur. Aterrizó en Normandía el 3 de julio de 1944, quedó bajo el mando de la 147ª Brigada de la 49ª División. Después de participar en los combates en la cabeza de puente, avanzó hacia el Sena y participó en la toma de Le Havre. Desde allí llevó a cabo algunos enfrentamientos breves y agudos contra el enemigo en retirada en Bélgica y Holanda. Lugares como Merxplas, Stonebridge, Brembosch y Rosendaal son nombres que serán recordados.

Cuando la situación finalmente se volvió más estática, el Batallón estaba en Nijmegen Bridgehead y finalmente participó en la captura de Arnhem. Cuando terminó la guerra, se trasladó a Alemania y permaneció con el Ejército del Rin hasta diciembre de 1947.

Trece batallones del Regimiento formaron la Guardia Nacional local de 1940 a 1944 para la defensa de la Ciudad y el Condado.

En 1944 se concedió al Regimiento la Libertad de la Ciudad de Leicester. En noviembre de 1946, en reconocimiento del hecho de que un batallón del Regimiento había luchado con distinción en todos los escenarios importantes de la guerra, el Rey Jorge VI rindió al Regimiento el gran honor de convertirlo en Regimiento Real. Se ganaron veintitrés nuevos honores de batalla.


7-AD & # 8211 St Vith & # 8211 Diciembre de 1944

ARTÍCULOS RELACIONADOS MÁS DEL AUTOR

1-ID & # 8211 Dom Butgenbach & # 8211 Diciembre de 1944

1-ID & # 8211 (AAR) & # 8211 Hauset (BE) (12/1944)

30-ID (AAR) Diciembre de 1944 (G3)

526-AIB (AAR) (T Force) Diciembre de 1944

106-ID diciembre de 1944

El séptimo día & # 8211 23 de diciembre de 1944.

La presión del enemigo desde el este disminuyó ligeramente, y la hora H para la retirada se anunció a las 0600. CCB-9-AD, habiendo recibido el anuncio tarde, en realidad inició el movimiento alrededor de las 0700. Gen Clarke, CCB-7-AD, ordenó al coronel Wemple que trajera todos los vehículos y tropas en Krombach y al suroeste de la misma a través de Beho hasta Vielsalm. Una compañía de infantería del 424-IR en Braunlauf debía acompañarlos. Al norte de Krombach, todas las tropas y vehículos debían salir a través de Hinderhausen hasta Commanster, y de allí a Vielsalm. Una fuerza de cobertura al mando del Coronel Boylan y que consistía en una compañía de tanques medianos, una compañía de cazacarros y una compañía de infantería, recibió la orden de retener Hinderhausen hasta que todas las demás tropas se hubieran ido y luego retroceder con la máxima demora para llevar a los heridos con ellos. . Se trataba de una carretera estrecha y, en caso de avería del vehículo, los vehículos debían ser arrojados a un lado de la carretera y destruidos con un mínimo de demora, para que la columna no se detuviera.
El 956-FAB y el 275-FAB fueron retirados la noche del 22 de diciembre. El 434-AFAB salió justo por delante de las fuerzas de cobertura, desplazando batería a batería para dar apoyo de fuego a las fuerzas de cobertura, que se retiraban bajo fuertes presión. Fue providencial que en la noche del 22 al 23 de diciembre las carreteras se congelaran, permitiendo la salida de prácticamente todos los vehículos. Hasta donde se sabe, ningún hombre se quedó atrás. Las tropas de CCB recibieron originalmente instrucciones para reunirse en Lierneux, pero más tarde se recibieron otras instrucciones y el área de reunión se cambió a las proximidades de Xhoris. El comando de combate cerró en las cercanías de la ciudad a las 23:00 del 23 de diciembre, y las unidades recibieron instrucciones de reorganizarse, repostar y prepararse para la acción por la mañana.

Sería conveniente mencionar en este punto algunas de las dificultades encontradas en los problemas de suministro y mantenimiento. Esta historia está bien contada por el coronel Erlenbusch CO del 31-TB: realizamos un vertedero de abastos en St Vith perteneciente a la 106-ID y lo usamos hasta agotarlo (8000 raciones y 10,000 galones de gasolina). El reabastecimiento desde la retaguardia era extremadamente peligroso porque una buena parte del enemigo había rodeado St Vith hacia el norte y el sur. Como resultado de estas fuerzas & # 8216 deslizándose & # 8217 en los flancos, el área de retaguardia de nuestra división era una mezcla de tropas amigas y enemigas. Algunos ASPS del Cuerpo y del Ejército estaban en nuestras manos, algunos estaban en manos del enemigo, algunos cambiaban de manos con frecuencia, mientras que otros puntos de suministro fueron destruidos o evacuados por tropas amigas en retirada. Los trenes de la División estaban ubicados en La Roche, donde estaban fuertemente comprometidos en el combate para evitar ser invadidos, y se podía esperar poca ayuda de ese barrio. The supply problem then was one of running trucks through miles of enemy-infested territory in search of friendly dumps having the desired type of supplies and then coming back through miles of the same enemy-infested territory to deliver the much-needed supplies to the combat elements. The service facilities of the units of CCB were pooled, and the maintenance sections were all consolidated under Capt La Fountain, Maintenance Officer of the 31-TB, who set up a small ordnance shop. Any of our vehicles which could be evacuated to this shop were repaired there. At the same time, this group salvaged many vehicles and weapons which had been abandoned in the area by retreating units before the arrival of the 7-AD. This equipment was repaired, or, if beyond repair, was ‘cannibalized’ for parts to use in the repair of other vehicles and equipment. Frequently this combined maintenance section operated under artillery fire, and many times they had to drop their work and engage in a small fight with enemy patrols that penetrated their area.

In one instance, a crew of four lost one man before they could withdraw from the scene with their equipment. There were two cases that stand out as indicative of the determination and heroic efforts of the service personnel to keep the combat elements supplied. In the first instance, seven trucks of the 31-TB with a corporal in charge of the convoy set out from the vicinity of Krombach to obtain fuel from a dump near Samrée. As no escort was available, only trucks with machine gun mounts were used. To help protect the convoy, two guards with rifles and Thompson M-1 sub guns were placed in the rear of each truck, the guards having been recruited from volunteers among the various company kitchen crews. This convoy was gone for two days and during that time they ‘ran the gauntlet’ of four enemy ambushes. When they arrived at their destination, they found one side of the dump burning and a light tank company from the 87-CRS bitterly defending the other portion. Under these conditions, the trucks were loaded to capacity and then started on the return trip, hiding out in the woods that night. The next day they had two engagements with the enemy in one of these attacks the corporal in charge was killed and three men were wounded, while one truck was damaged so badly that it had to be towed the rest of the way. Arriving at Krombach at dusk of the second day, now commanded by a Pfc truck driver, it could report. ‘Mission accomplished.’

The other case is practically the same story. This convoy was commanded by Sgt Trapp and consisted of three trucks from the 31-TB and one truck of the 23-AIB, with a defense crew, organized very similarly to the first convoy. Their mission was to obtain badly needed ammunition from a dump in the La Roche area. Their experiences were about the same they had two skirmishes and suffered one casualty. The ammunition dump was not guarded by friendly or enemy forces. Like the first group, they too returned at dusk of the second day, reporting, ‘Mission accomplished’.

The magnificent effort of all service personnel was recognized and appreciated by all troops in the line. In many cases, these service troops were called upon to repel enemy attacks. In one action (Dec 21), near Samrée, the Combat Command Assistant S4, Capt Robert H. Barth, was killed while attempting to maintain the constant flow of supplies to the front. The supply problems for artillery were especially critical. The only way ammunition supply could be kept up was by hunting for and finding abandoned dumps toward the front. Very little ammunition was getting through from the rear. Some of the artillery trains were with division trains in the vicinity of Samrée where they were forced to fight for their existence. A balance of ammunition was maintained between battalions when the expenditures were exceptionally heavy in one battalion, several truckloads would be sent to it from another battalion.

On Dec 22, ammunition amounted to only a few rounds per 105-MM howitzer for CCB artillery. Any sizable amount of firing had to be approved by the Combat Command commander. At one time during this critical ammunition shortage, a German column got lost on the road between Nieder Emmels and Ober Emmels and stopped, bumper-to-bumper, a perfect target for a concentration. When the artillery was called for, the ammunition shortage had to be considered. Finally, it was decided that this target merited the firing of the remaining white phosphorus. The German column was burned and destroyed. Later, that same day, a 40-truck convoy carrying 5000 rounds of 105-MM ammunition finally made its way through after traveling many miles of circuitous routes and back roads. From then on the ammunition situation eased.
The drivers of the 40-truck convoy which came through to the combat elements, on Dec 22, had been behind their steering wheels for hours on end without sleep. They had driven through ambushes by German patrols and had suffered casualties en route. Their devotion to duty saved the division and its attached units from almost certain disaster duping the ordered withdrawal which took place the next day. Without gasoline, many vehicles would have to have been abandoned. The artillery and other ammunition they brought held the enemy at bay until the Salm River was crossed.

In retrospect, it is difficult to understand how it was possible for CCB to hold St Vith against the overwhelming power and superiority in numbers possessed by the Germans. The German attack was well organized and the build-up of strength was achieved with great secrecy. The Germans gambled everything on striking a lightning blow and achieving surprise, so that they could knife through while our troops were disorganized and before the latter could be re-shifted to set up an effective defense line. During the period the American troops were in St Vith, the weather was a strong ally of the Germans, and American planes were not seen for this entire period. One factor that probably caused the Germans to proceed so cautiously was the fact that elements of the 7-AD were in St Vith at all on Dec 17 when their intelligence had identified them in the Linnich (Germany) area on Dec 16. It is supposition, but they must have been surprised, and they must have felt that if these troops could be moved such a distance and be in the thick of the fighting so quickly, other dispositions could be effected as expeditiously.

Another factor that gave the Germans pause was the aggressiveness and tenacity of the defense. CCB was not content to dig in and merely try to hold the Germans when they attacked. Their patrols were aggressive, and wherever a weakness was sensed, a probing attack was made. Their counter-attacks were quick and effective. Had the Germans realized the limited strength CCB had at its disposal and the disorganization and loss of morale of some of the Allied troops caused by the initial attack, they could have closed the pincers and annihilated the American forces at their choosing. However, instead of committing their forces to a major blow, they dissipated their strength and lost valuable time in making limited objective and probing attacks. Defenders of St Vith were puzzled at the time as to why the Germans did not pour more artillery fire into St Vith. It was only after the third or fourth day that they began firing anything that resembled the intensity of an American barrage. Undoubtedly, they counted on a quick capture of the town and did not want to destroy it or make the streets impassable. As was learned afterward, in this offensive the Germans were counting heavily on using St Vith as a forward railhead.

The arrival of CCB-7-AD in St Vith on the afternoon of December 17 was quite timely. Advance patrols of the Germans were on the Schoenberg – St Vith Road at that time. The only forces to stop them were the provisional engineer troops, and there is no doubt that the Germans could have, and probably would have, been in St Vith on the night of December 17, had 7-AD units not arrived and been placed in position when they were.

It would be very interesting indeed to have a transcript of the conversations between commanders of the various echelons of command of the Germans after their failure to take St Vith on schedule, particularly when they discovered the size of the small force that was denying this area to them. The attitude of the German command was well-expressed by a German lieutenant colonel who, while he was attempting to interrogate one of our men who had been captured, remarked: You and your damned panzer division have kept us from getting to Liège! Every officer and man of the 7-AD who participated in the St Vith action sings the praises of the 275-AFAB. This VIII Corps Artillery Battalion, commanded by Col Clay, chose to stay and fight. The coolness and the poise of the officers and men in this organization were the subjects of admiration on the part of all who came in contact with them. The battalion reflected the excellent training that it had received, and the missions that it was called upon to fire were always fired effectively. The forward observers were outstanding in cooperating with front-line commanders of CCB. Six forward observers were lost during this action.

One of the more critical moments in the defense of St Vith occurred on the night of Dec 20/21 when the Germans finally penetrated the defense and isolated some of CCB’s troops. These troops had been constantly engaged since their commitment on Dec 17 and the nervous tension and fatigue produced by the constant pressure under which they were operating was beginning to tell. Combat fatigue casualties up to this time had been light, but with the Germans pouring through the men were rapidly being separated from the boys.

One of the formers was 1/Sgt L. H. Ladd (B Troop – 87-CRS). This troop had gone into the line on Dec 17 with six officers and 136 men. When it was cut off to the east of St Vith on the night of Dec 21, 1/Sgt Ladd brought back about 46 men, which was all that remained of the troop. Unshaven, lines of fatigue showing on his face, his eyes bloodshot, he nevertheless demanded to see the Combat Command CO. Staff officers tried to dissuade him and told him to get what little rest he could before the remainder of the troop was committed again. 1/Sgt Ladd would have none of this and repeated his demand to see Gen Clarke.

Along about midnight he found the general and said: I want to get it from you personally that B Troop was ordered out of the position that we were holding. My men and myself had decided that we were not leaving and I just want to get it straight that we were ordered out by you. When Gen Clarke assured 1/Sgt Ladd that he had issued the order, the Sergeant was satisfied and moved out into the darkness and rain to occupy a new position in the defense line west of St Vith.

The following message from the 7-AD commander, Gen Robert W. Hasbrouck, was read to the men about Jan 4, 1945: To the Officers and Men of the 7th Armored Division! Since it is impossible for me to talk personally to each of you, I am taking this method of bringing to your attention some of the things I want you to know. First of all, I want you to know that the German attack has been disrupted and their plans upset. This division, by its gallant action in denying the important road center of St Vith to the enemy for more than five days contributed greatly towards upsetting Von Rundstedt carefully planned schedule. Gen Eisenhower and our old friends, the VII British Corps, have telegraphed us their congratulations. These messages will be read to you later. Secondly, we are resuming the offensive! On Jan 3, the XVIII Corps (Airborne)(Ridgway) to which we now belong, resumed the offensive by attacking south. We are in Corps Reserve and may be called upon at any time to add our power to the attack. This attack may help to shorten the war by many months. If the German forces to our south are cut off by the power and speed of our drive, the enemy will have suffered an overpowering defeat. Naturally, there will be obstacles to overcome. The Germans will fight savagely to avert defeat. We must fight even more savagely, knowing what is at stake and remembering the American prisoners who were shot down in cold blood by the Germans at Stavelot and Malmedy. German paratroopers may be dropped in our rear Germans in American uniforms may infiltrate our lines. This will necessitate unceasing vigilance by all troops, wherever located, to prevent sabotage and espionage. No matter how many parachutists come down in any one area, there will always be a far greater number of our troops in the vicinity who can be concentrated quickly against them.

The terrain we may expect to encounter is not good tank terrain, but when have we ever had good tank terrain? By will power, muscle power, American ingenuity, and just plain guts we will get over roads and trails considered unfit for tanks and thus surprise the enemy. Last but not least, I want you to know that I am proud of the division. Thrown into combat piecemeal as you arrived on the scene, every unit and every man performed magnificently. God bless you all, and may 1945 bring the victories you so richly deserve.

The 7-AD was sent into the fight northwest of St Vith as the Allies resumed the offensive, and the Germans became the defenders of the town.

The same German artillery officer (Lt Behman) quoted before had this to write in his diary as the Americans approached:

January 20, 1945, I am ordered to organize a defense in St Vith. For the first time since Christmas, I’m in St Vith again. The town is in ruins, but we will defend the ruins. We expect the attack on St Vith. Only small forces are available for the defense. The 𔃸-balls’ in the unit speak of a little Stalingrad.

Januany 21, 1945, There are no new messages. The battle noises come closer to the town. We can already see the infantry in some of the heights. I am organizing everything for the last defense. Rumor has it that the Tommies have the town surrounded. Some even believe It. At higher commands they believe that we will be forced to yield. These rear’ echelon men! I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic and I don’t give up hope. When the kitchen goes back, I will send all personnel not immediately needed back with it. During the day, it is naturally quiet. Will the enemy surround the town? I’m sending back all my personal belongings. One never knows. I wonder what Heide is doing?

January 22, 1945, Nothing new during the night. At eight o’clock the enemy recommences his saturation fire from the direction of Neider Emmels. Exactly one month ago, we took St Vith.

On Sunday January 23, 1945, during the afternoon, Combat Command B of the 7th Armored Division attacked and retook St Vith capturing this German artillery officer and his diary, but that is another story.


7-AD – St Vith – December 1944

RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR

1-ID – Dom Butgenbach – December 1944

1-ID – (AAR) – Hauset (BE) (12/1944)

30-ID (AAR) December 1944 (G3)

526-AIB (AAR) (T Force) December 1944

106-ID December 1944

Events of Dec 20, 1944

St Vith, by the morning of Dec 20, was not yet desperate but was becoming increasingly difficult. Everyone realized by this time that we were not facing a local counter-attack, but a full-scale offensive and that the St Vith defenders were catching a heavy portion of it in their sector. Through intelligence reports from higher headquarters, and captured prisoners, the Americans knew that they were meeting the best of the German troops. CCB-7-AD had a relatively quiet day, but there was a constant build-up of enemy strength for an attack on St Vith. Task Force Jones was formed to secure the southern flank. There was increasing enemy pressure on supply installations at Samrée and La Roche. By the end of the day, prisoners from the following German divisions had been interrogated by the IPW Team of the 7-AD (enemy divisions listed in relative order of positions from north to south): 1.SS-PD, Gross-Deutschland-Brigade, 18.VGD, 62.VGD, 2.PD, 560.VGD and the 116.PD. Manteuffel had assigned the task of taking St Vith to two infantry divisions of the 66.Corps his failure to accomplish this in a reasonable time had caused the commitment of additional troops from both, the 5.Panzer-Army and the 6.SS-Panzer-Army. All manner of reports were received indicating that the enemy was by-passing the 7-AD’s positions on the north and rolling up the flank on the southeast, making the St Vith sector comparable to a thumb protruding into the enemy’s mouth and it seemed that this thumb could be easily bitten off. The enemy was reported to be in strength at Houffalize, La Roche, and Samrée, all to the west of CCB, and at Trois-Ponts to the northwest. In order to protect their flank, Division Headquarters, on Dec 19, had ordered the 40-TB and Able 336-AEB, to outpost Cherain and Gouvy.

At Gouvy, these troops found an army ration dump, containing 50.000 rations, which had just been set on fire by Army QM personnel to prevent its capture by the enemy, who were already threatening with small-arms fire. Dog 40-TB drove off the enemy and extinguished the fire, which had done little damage, and began the issuance of rations to all units of the division. Also in Gouvy, there was an abandoned army prisoner of war enclosure, containing over 300 German prisoners of war, guarded by one officer and eight MPs. These prisoners were successfully evacuated by the division. Division Headquarters created other task forces out of the remnants of the 14-CG and assigned them the mission of screening and protecting the southeast flank of the division. Troop D, 87-CRS, was directed to proceed to Salmchâteau and then west, and was given the mission of screening the northern flank of the division rear. The most significant change that occurred in the disposition and composition of division troops on Dec 20, was the formation of Task Force Jones, commanded by the CO of the 814-TDB, and in position on the southern and southwestern flank of the division to the right rear of CCB-7-AD. The force consisted of part of the 17-TB, the 440-AFAB, part of the 814-TDB, and elements of the 38-AIB, 31-TB, 40-TB, 33-AEB, and a detachment of the 14-CG. The strength of the enemy and the seriousness of the situation on the south, leading to the formation of Task Force Jones, was obtained in part from Col Robert O. Stone, with whom the division had been in touch about two clays. This officer was located near Gouvy with an assortment of about 250 stragglers, including both officer and enlisted Quartermaster, Engineer, and Signal personnel whom he had collected. He had established a defensive position, saying, By God the others may run, but I am staying here and will hold at all cost.
Stone’s force was incorporated into Task Force Jones.

The force was in position by about 1600 and immediately became engaged at Cherain and Gouvy. By 1800, it was receiving a strong German attack which it successfully repulsed. In spite of this activity in its rear, CCB had a relatively quiet day. During the night of Dec 19/20, some infiltration was reported by the 17-TB at Recht. At 0800, the 17-TB was instructed to withdraw to Rodt, leaving one company plus a platoon of infantry in position north and east of Rodt to maintain contact with CCA on the left. Enemy concentrations of tanks and infantry collected in Wallerode and Neider Emmels. Heavy artillery concentrations quieted these threats. During the afternoon, enemy columns were reported moving from Medell to Born and at 1630, enemy tanks moved into Ober Emmels and forced out a light tank platoon on outpost there but the forces on the high ground to the south held firmly. During the night of Dec 20/21, approximately 68 men and two officers led by Lt Long of the I&R Platoon 423-IR (one of the surrounded regiments of the 106-ID) infiltrated back through CCA’s lines.

When interviewed, Lt Long stated that the commanding officers had told them that the two regiments (422 and 423) were preparing to surrender and that orders were being given for the destruction of their arms and equipment. The troops had been told that and personnel wishing to attempt to infiltrate to friendly lines rather than surrender were authorized to leave. These men were some of those who had chosen to risk returning and fighting again to laying down their arms and surrendering. CCB established an assembly point in the schoolhouse at St Vith where these men were given rations, such other supplies as they needed, and a well-deserved rest.
During the night of Dec 21/22, when the situation became critical, these men ware put back into the line. When they were told that they were going back into the line, their enthusiasm was high, and subsequent reports obtained from the troops with whom they fought indicated that without exception these men discharged their duty in exemplary fashion. During the day, CCA, to the left rear of CCB, was under considerable pressure in the vicinity of Poteau. Division HQs had sent them a message at 0925 that it was imperative that they command the road from Recht and leading into Poteau. Although CCB did not know at this time, the situation to the left rear and on the northern flank was critical.

Events of Dec 21, 1944

/>The Germans realized that the failure to control the network of roads and railroads centering on St Vith was disrupting the timetable and the entire counter-attack. The stand of the 7-AD had left a dangerous salient in the German lines which threatened the northern flank of Manteuffel’s 5.Panzer-Army, preventing also to link these forces with Dietrich’s 6.SS-Panzer-Army. All further westward movement of the 6.SS-Panzer-Army had virtually stopped for lack of needed gasoline and ammunition, which were on the supply columns immobilized far from St Vith, or on the trains halted between Prüm and Gerolstein (Germany). Accordingly, orders were issued to the II.SS-Panzer-Corps to move to the south and take St Vith without delay. All during the night of Dec 21/22, tanks and other vehicles could be heard massing to the north, east, and south of St Vith. Troops of the II.SS-Panzer-Corps was moving to position and at 1100, the assault was launched.

A full-scale corps attack was launched against the town, and at 2200 CCB-7-AD withdrew to the high ground west of St Vith. CCA-7-AD captured the high ground northwest of Poteau and repelled the counter-attacks. Task Force Jones was receiving enemy attacks from the south.

From the time of the first attack on the 21 until the completion of the successful withdrawal of the 7-AD across the Salm River two days later, the enemy attacked unceasingly along the entire front of the division. Throughout the 21 and until 2200 that night, the lines held against the continuous assault of infantry, supported by heavy artillery and screaming meemies concentrations of unprecedented size and duration. Large formations of enemy tanks joined in the assault and smashed their way into the lines, where they blasted the defenders from their foxholes with point-blank tank fire. Time after time, the German infantry were forced to withdraw under the aimed short-range fire of the gallant infantrymen, engineers, tankers, recon troops, and others who stood their ground and inflicted huge losses upon the attacking formations. Even the heavy tanks were forced to withdraw, leaving destroyed hulks battered and burning in their wake. On that day, the men of the 7-AD performed, individually and collectively, repeated deeds of heroism soldiers not only engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the German infantry but also destroyed German tanks with bazookas and grenades.
Still, the Germans attacked. Starting at 1100 with an artillery barrage on the northern and eastern positions of CCB and an infantry-tank attack against the juncture of CCB-7-AD and CCB-9-AD, the Germans stepped up the scale of their assault by 1300 the entire line of CCB-7-AD was aflame with enemy artillery, screaming meemies, tanks, and infantry pouring a concentration of steel at the defenders.

100-MM Nebelwerfer 35. The lower muzzle velocity of a mortar meant that its shell walls could be thinner than those of artillery shells, and it could carry a larger payload than artillery shells of the same weight. This made it an attractive delivery system for poison gases. The US Army’s Chemical Warfare Service developed their 4.2-inch chemical mortar for precisely that reason and the Nebeltruppen shared that reasoning. Its first weapon was also a mortar, the 100-MM Nebelwerfer 35 (1934). 100-MM Nebelwerfer 40. Almost from the beginning, the army wanted more range than the 3000-M of the Nebelwerfer 35. Trials of two new prototypes did not take place until May 1940 and both were not entirely satisfactory, but the best features of both were incorporated into the 100-MM Nebelwerfer 40. This projectile was a very advanced breech-loading weapon with a recoil mechanism and an integral wheeled carriage. It had twice the range of its predecessor but was eight times the weight of the Model 35. 150-MM Nebelwerfer 41. The first weapon to be delivered to the troops was the 150-MM Nebelwerfer 41 in 1940, after the Battle of France, a purpose-designed rocket with gas, smoke, and high-explosive warheads. One unusual feature of this projectile was that the rocket motor was in the front, the exhaust venturi being about two-thirds down the body from the nose, with the intent to optimize the blast effect of the rocket as the warhead would still be above the ground when it detonated. The Nebelwerfer 41 was fired from a six-tube launcher mounted on a towed carriage adapted from that used by the 37-MM PaK 36 and had a range of 6900-M. Almost five and a half million 150-MM rockets and 6000 launchers were manufactured over the course of the war. 280/320-MM Nebelwerfer 41 (Schweres Wurfgerät 41). The 280/320-MM Nebelwerfer 41 rockets were introduced in 1941, before Operation Barbarossa. They used the same motor but carried different warheads. The 280-MM (11′) rocket had a HE warhead, while the 320-MM (13′) rockets were incendiary. The maximum range for either rocket was only 2200-M. Both could be fired from their wooden packing cases or a special wooden (Schweres Wurfgerät 40) or tubular metal (Schweres Wurfgerät 41) frame. Later, a towed launcher was developed that could take six rockets. Both rockets used the same launchers, but special liner rails had to be used for the 280-MM rockets. A vehicular launch frame, the Schwere Wurfrahmen 40, was also designed to improve the mobility of the heavy rockets. 210-MM Nebelwerfer 42. The 210-MM Nebelwerfer 42 rocket, which was introduced in 1942, had a longer range (7850-M) and a simpler design than the smaller 150-MM rocket. It was only made with high-explosive warheads and was fired from a five-tube launcher that used the same carriage as the smaller weapon. 300-MM Nebelwerfer 42. The last German-designed rocket to be introduced was the 300-MM Nebelwerfer 42 in 1943. This was intended to replace the 280-MM and 320-MM rockets, which had too short a range. Advances in propellant chemistry also reduced its smoke signature.(Wikipedia)

As the enemy closed in they were met in turn by all possible concentrated fires that could be brought to bear – but still, they attacked. Major attacks were launched against that part of the line held by the 38-AIB at 1100, 1230, 1400, 1610, and 1710 while the northern flank manned by the 31-TB and the 87-CRS was hit with attacks at 1300, 1730, 1805, and 1820. All attacks were turned back, and the CCB’s lines continued to hold. Then three heavy assaults were started by the Germans, with each directed along the axis of the main roads entering St Vith at 1650 from the east along the Schoenberg Road followed by an attack down the Malmedy Road at 1835 with the last one starting up the Prüm Road at 2000. Each of these attacks was preceded by intense artillery barrages lasting from 15 to 35 minutes and closely followed by the infantry and tanks. The Germans were not to be denied and their relentless pressure since 1100 in the morning had left gaps in the line since there were no replacements for the dead and wounded. By 2000, the CCB’s lines had been penetrated in at least three points. The battle continued until approximately 2200 when Gen Clarke, seeing that a portion of his position was no longer tenable, issued the order to withdraw the center of the line to the high ground west of St Vith.

Those elements which were cut off east of town were ordered to attack through the town or north of it to join the forces which were establishing a new defensive line. Officers were established at control points west of the town to collect stragglers and to place units in a defensive position as they got back within the friendly screen. During the time this concerted drive was being made on the front, the troops on the northern flank were not heavily engaged, although there was a definite threat in the Ober Emmels – Nieder Emmels area. It was planned to anchor a defense west of St Vith on this still substantial north flank and hold there. The center of the defensive line (from Hunningen to the St Vith Wallerode Road) was to swing back to the west of St Vith and establish a line for elements east of the town to fall back through. This was accomplished and most of the troops were brought out as units. All through the night of Dec 21/22, stragglers were coming back from the troops which had been overrun east of St Vith. Officer control posts had been set up on all roads to intercept these men and send them to the Hinderhausen area. This was done and by early forenoon of Dec 22, about 150 stragglers had been gathered up.

The situation on the right flank of the division became critical during Dec 21. CCB-9-AD, requested assistance, and Task Force Lindsey, which had been held in division reserve, was ordered to Galhausen to reinforce that unit. This assistance was sufficient to restore the situation, and Task Force Lindsey was returned to its former mission of reserve at 1000. On the left flank of CCB-7-AD, CCA-7-AD maintained its position in and around Poteau throughout the day. A strong attack, which included tanks and artillery, was successfully repulsed around 1330. Strong patrols on both sides were active during the day. The enemy established an effective ambush in some thick woods southeast of Poteau on the Sy Vith – Poteau Road. Before the ambush was discovered, the enemy was successful in capturing the occupants of eight peeps and one light tank which had been knocked out. Personnel included such key officers as the Executive Officer, CCA Liaison Officer, CCA Executive Officer and Adjutant, 48-AIB and others. Upon discovery, the enemy abandoned its ambush, and the key road was again opened for friendly traffic. At 2000, another strong hostile attack, supported by heavy mortar, machine gun, and artillery fire, was repulsed. Anticipating the possibility of CCR’s being unable to hold the present position, Gen Clarke had initiated recon on the road leading to the west, through Hinderhausen and Commanster to Vielsalm, a possible avenue of withdrawal. This road was in poor condition and for the most part, passed through a forest. Engineers and artillerymen had been put to work on critical and impassable spots, but even with this improvement passage over this road was not easy.

Events of Dec 22, 1944

The Germans continued to attack with infantry and tanks. At 0200, the 928.Grenadier-Battalion attacked Rodt from the rear. The enemy widened this penetration and at 1135, Rodt was captured, splitting CCA and CCB. The nine-hour battle for Rodt was a grim affair in which personnel from every possible source-cooks, drivers, radio operators were employed to augment the defense in a desperate effort to prevent the enemy from driving a deeper wedge between the two combat commands. The loss of Rodt necessitated CCB’s pulling back its left flank to protect Hinderhausen, a key position on the emergency exit route to Commanster and Vielsalm.

By dark, the line was established again and was strengthened by the addition of the 17-TB (-) on the south flank of CCB-7-AD to tie in with CCB-9-AD. Contact with CCA on the northwest was lost. At 0700, the command post of CCB was moved to Commanster. During this day all unessential vehicles were sent to the rear. By nightfall, the line was being held with the 87-CRS, Col Boylan commanding, on the left the 31-TB, Col Erlenbusch commanding, in the center the 17-TB, Col Wemple commanding, on the south. The boundary between the 31-TB and the 17-TB was the railroad line running southwest from St Vith. At 1845 , enemy tanks and infantry attacked along the railroad towards Krombach. Infantry broke through and occupied the town. Most of Col Wemple’s force was able to fight its way out the next morning. CCB-9-AD was also receiving a heavy attack at this time and was being slowly pushed back toward Braunlauf. It held on to its contact with CCB-7-AD, pivoting back on Gen Clarke’s right flank and preventing an attempt of the enemy to separate the two combat commands.

At Poteau to the left rear of CCB-7-AD, CCA-7-AD was receiving increasing pressure from the enemy, who was continuing his attempts to outflank the right of CCA. Meanwhile, the enemy on the north struck heavily at 2215 but was driven off. A measure of the bitterness of the fighting on all fronts is indicated by the following extract from the personal reports of members of Baker Co of Col Robert C. Rhea’s 23-AIB: on Friday, the company trains were moved to the west of Krombach. During the morning the men walked back cross-country to a new line which was set up about 1000 yards to the east of Krombach. This line had no depth, and as Capt Britton pointed out ‘once the line was pierced, it was finished’. At the railroad underpass, about 1000 yards northeast of Krombach, a bazooka man and a machine-gun squad were posted. They wanted to mine the underpass, but no mines or explosives were available. The 81-MM mortars of Baker 23-AIB were in position in Krombach, where they fired 600 rounds in 20 minutes and broke the base plates which were welded to the floor of the half-track. At about 1700, strong enemy combat patrols began coming along the railroad embankment, and tanks came toward the underpass. The bazooka man fired at the tanks, and when the bazooka round bounced off the front, he withdrew. Capt Britton had just come up toward the front and was warming his feet in an oven when the enemy burst into his position. Some of the men pulled back to the north until they ran into tanks of Dog 31-TB these men rode out with those tanks.
The remainder of the company fell back to the motor park in Krombach where the half-tracks were gassing. Late Friday night, these half-tracks moved to Vielsalm where they met the remainder of the company the next morning. Capt Britton said there were men from almost every conceivable unit on the vehicles. Back at the line, some men remained with another unit which held fast and fought it out. Our artillery and mortar fire worked up and down the railroad track. One Baker 23-AIB mechanic, T/5 Robert Cutts, had a radio with which he called back to the FO giving him the necessary adjustments in the artillery fire. These men also finally pulled back from the line when the 17-TB moved out, and many of them rode the tanks out of the area.

The pressure continued to increase along the entire front and, as the 7-AD shortened its lines and again regrouped, German infantry and tanks pressed strongly on all positions. Practically the entire division area was now being engaged by long-range artillery fire. In the north, the enemy in strength was along the east bank of the Salm River from east of Trois-Ponts to Grand-Halleux, and in the south along the high ground south of the highway running west from Salmchâteau. This meant that the remainder of the 106-ID, CCB-9-AD, the 14-CG, some Corps troops, including artillery which had been attached to the 7-AD, and the entire 7-AD with attachments, less trains, were left east of the Salm River all units were short of supplies and were completely fatigued from five or more days and nights of continuous fighting. There was only one sure exit route, a secondary road running west from Vielsalm and one probable alternate route, the road Salmchâteau Joubieval Lierneux.

As the position was obviously untenable, Montgomery in a message to Gen Hasbrouck, and its conglomeration of units, ordered a withdrawal: You have accomplished your mission, a mission well-done. It is time to withdraw. All unessential vehicles were withdrawn at once, followed by part of the artillery, which began displacing rearward about midnight. CCB-9-AD was scheduled to be the first unit to withdraw, but their commanding general advised Gen Hasbrouck that they were engaged with the enemy and the muddy condition of the roads and fields was such that an immediate withdrawal would be unfeasible. It was necessary to postpone the initial time for withdrawal, as CCB-7-AD was also heavily engaged with the enemy. At the same time, the enemy was building up strong forces in front of the 82-Abn, west of Salmchâteau.


What You Need To Know About The Battle Of The Bulge

On 16 December 1944 the Germans launched a massive attack on Allied forces in the area around the Ardennes forest in Belgium and Luxembourg during the Second World War.

Allied forces in the Ardennes consisted primarily of American troops - some new and inexperienced, others exhausted and battle-worn. The Germans had some initial success. They achieved complete surprise and pushed westwards through the middle of the American line, creating the 'bulge' that gave the battle its name. But this success was short-lived.

The quick arrival of Allied reinforcements and the Americans' tenacious defence of the vital road junctions at Bastogne and St Vith slowed the German advance. The offensive also required men and resources that Germany did not have. Fuel shortages were made worse by bad weather, which disrupted German supply lines. The weather, which had previously restricted Allied air support, eventually cleared and air attacks resumed. By the end of December, the German advance had ground to a halt.

On 1 January 1945, the German air force caused serious damage to Allied air bases in north-west Europe, but it sustained losses from which it could not recover. The Allied counterattack in early January succeeded in pushing the Germans back and by the end of the month the Allies had regained the positions they held six weeks earlier.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said the Battle of the Bulge was 'undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war'. It was also one of the bloodiest. The Allies could offset these losses, but Germany had drained its manpower and material resources. The Allies resumed their advance and in early spring crossed into the heart of Germany.


Personal account of Grenadier Walter Kern, Grenadier Regiment 308, 198. Infanterie-Division, in the north-western sector of Selestat, December 1944

Walter Kern was a young Grenadier of the 6. Company / II. Battalion, Grenadier Regiment 308, 198. Infanterie-Division. His outfit was very well dug in near the first houses of the Alsatian town of Obenheim. My squad of 7 men, was responsible to defend this small town with one machine gun and 5 rifle men. In addition to that one Assault gun was assigned to my small group. The combined assault of French and US troops started already at 08.00 a.m. supported with 15 tanks! Our Assault gun was able to knock out 3 enemy tanks and two were knocked out with Panzerfaust by myself but 10 still remained in action against us. After a short but intensive battle, I gave the order to cease fire as any further resistance would have resulted in complete annihilation. So we dropped our weapons and went into a basement to hide ourselves. At around 11.00 a.m., we surrendered to the French and right away were lined up against a wall to be shot by a French officer. At the very last second myself and my men were saved by an US officer. This all has been witnessed by a small French boy who was present.

After the rescue of the US officer we became P.O.W’s and were sent to Southern France and from there to Marseilles to help off-load US supply ships. After almost three years in Allied captivity I was sent home on January 9, 1947.

After a few years, I visited the place with my family, where I and my men were almost shot. During this visit, I was able to meet the small French boy who witnessed this scene in December 1944. He confirmed to me that the French Officer told him “I am going to kill now all of them”. Lucky us that the US officer followed the Geneva Convention.


What Else Happened When Your 1944 Penny Was Made?

World War II was happening in 1944, and hundreds of millions of people were reading newspaper headlines and tuning into radio newscasts to stay current on the latest from the battle lines.

  • On June 6, more than 150,000 allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy to free Western Europe from the German Nazis. Operation Overlord, more widely known as D-Day, was the biggest military operation of its kind in history.
  • President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the GI Bill — which offered a variety of financial and social benefits for military personnel.
  • Paris was liberated from Nazi control.
  • Meet Me In St. Louis y Arsenic And Old Lace were among the top filmson the silver screen.
  • Popular songs included “The Trolley Song” by Judy Garland and Dinah Shore’s “I’ll Walk Alone.”
  • A new house cost $3,450, the average American earned $2,400 per year, gas was 15 cents per gallon, and a loaf of bread sold for 10 cents.