Siegfried Line
3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, (9th Inf. Div.)
19 Sep - 23 Oct 1944



Interview with:
Maj A. E. Bruchac, Ex. Off.
Capt. L. C. Williamson, Bn. S-3
s/Sgt E. J. Jankowski, Operations

19 September 1944

From its position in the vicinity of Mützenich, the battalion was ordered at 0600 to an assembly area east of Zweifall (936357), where it was given a new mission. This involved moving northeast for approximately two miles, and then turning to strike directly east with the eventual objective of Grosshau (052382), Kleinhau (053373), and Hürtgen (041355). At 1030, the entire battalion had renewed its march (now on foot) and the CP was established some 2000 yards farther north at 988374.

As the march began, L Company was on the right, and K Company was behind it, while I Company remained near the CP. It soon turned out, however, when a jeep of the 47th Infantry came towards the battalion, that no "attack" was necessary. The battalion was advancing up the supply route of the 47th. The battalion changed its course of action, and established road blocks in the general area.

20 - 21 September 1944

The battalion did not change position throughout the period except for the posting of road blocks.

22 September 1944

At 0800, the battalion was ordered to countermarch to the southeast, in the direction in which the 1st bn was fighting. However, at the same time, the 47th Infantry received an enemy counterattack. The battalion was then ordered to go northeast to the position of of the 47th infantry. The entire battalion entrucked and moved without opposition to the position of the 3rd battalion of the 47th, to find that it had the situation well in hand. I company, which had encountered some enemy resistance in getting up to a road block position near the 47th, remained at that point until late in the evening.

Early in the afternoon, the three companies remaining in the battalion established roadblocks to the east. K company was at the crossroads, farthest north (003378); I was the center (006367); and L farthest east (018362). The only one of these to make contact with the enemy was L Company. The battalion had received a platoon of TDs for this operation.

At 1500, however, further orders were given, and the battalion was told to move to the vicinity of 001337.

23 September 1944

The various companies marched cross country to their objective, while the CP and the vehicles came down via the main road. At the assembly area, the AT Platoon and the I and R platoon were sent out to form a road block in the vicinity of 007339.

From 0800 to 1400, the battalion held its position, sending out patrols to the east. At 1530 it received orders to attack the following morning at 0830, with the objective the high ground and crossroads in the vicinity of Richelskaul (gridsquare 0132). In the meantime, I Company moved down the firebreak from the north to the vicinity of 995334, where about 1730 it was attached to the 1st battalion.

Pre WWII map of the area in which the 3rd Battalion fought.

24 September 1944

The axis of advance at 0830, was almost due south, down the firebreak leading from the assembly area (vicinity of 003338). No contact was made with the enemy until the assault company (L) came up to the pillbox (PB #412/13 - Scorpio) on the left of the firebreak at 001328. By working elements of his leading platoon on the right side of the firebreak, Capt. Snelling, commanding L company, was able to get within 20 feet of the pillbox without drawing fire. He then assaulted the position, and without suffering any casualties killed 31 enemy and captured 15.

The battalion CP then moved into the pillbox, while L company continued on south to a position in the vicinity of 999322. I company moved to the right of L, curving sharply back in order to tie in with C company of the 1st bn. K deployed along the firebreak to the rear (north of L), and faced east against possible enemy attack. At this time the enemy artillery began to register in on the area, and casualties of the battalion began to mount.

25 September 1944

The relative position of the companies of the 3rd Bn remained approximately the same during the morning and the early afternoon. I Company bettered its position slight by coming up abreast with L.

At 1500, the battalion was given the mission of cutting southwest, in front of the 1st Battalion, to seize part of the road (vicinity of 990321). It was originally planned that the 1st Bn would move out in the attack, but it had suffered so heavily during the previous days that it could not make the advance. Meanwhile the enemy shelled the 3rd Bn position with long range artillery from the east and SP guns from the south. The thickness of the trees increased the number of airburst and likewise the number of casualties. The 3rd Bn consolidated its position by pulling back into essentially the same area as it had held the previous night.

The same afternoon, about 1630, the enemy laid in a very heavy artillery concentration from the east, of which the battalion CP in the pillbox (001328) was the target. The flank in this place was very thin, since K Company in the movement during the day was moved down to a position nearly abreast and to the east of L Company. There was one company of men, bn HQ Company, left up around the CP.

Right after the shelling, the enemy infantry attacked in large numbers, and before anything could be done they were in close to the pillbox. A TD, which had been drawn up close to the position fired at point blank range at the enemy, snaking the men inside the pillbox, so close was his fire. The mortar platoon, located some 400 yards north, was called, and it advanced to hit the enemy from the flank and rear, using carbines as the main weapon. The rear CP was called from its position three miles northwest (987357), and it hastily entrucked with what weapons it could muster, to assist in the defense. The A and P platoon, the AT platoon, and the technicians all joined, and under Major Bruchac were deployed against the enemy in close to the pillbox. In addition artillery was called down on the area to the east of the pillbox. It was not about dusk, and the enemy was slowly forced to withdraw. Additional casualties were inflicted however, when the artillery shelled the area through which the enemy had to retreat.

26 September 1944

The companies forwards held their same position until about 1200, when they tried to attack to the southwest. They were unable to make much progress.

27 September 1944

At 0600, another attempt was made, with the objective this time the bend in the road to the southwest near 991316. It likewise did not succeed. On the same day at 1200, the enemy counterattacked, and they were repulsed at 1245. Another attack at 1500 was pushed back by 1530.

28 September 1944

At 0830, the forward companies again tried to move toward 991318, and in this attempt they were successful. The battalion occupied the area formerly held by the 1st Battalion (39th Infantry Regiment).

K Company was at 991318; L at 991312; and I at 994314. The CP was 986309.

29 September to 4 October 1944.

On the 29th, the battalion ordered to hold its position and "rest", which orders were followed until 4 October.

4 October 1944 to 6 October 1944

From the 4th of October to the 6th, the battalion varied its position but little. L Company occupied the area from 998313 to 998316, on the north side of the road, and facing the enemy to the east. I Company platoons were scattered, one was from 997310 to 998312, (south of the road), another 992316 to 994316, (north and west of L) and the third south of the road across from the 2nd 991313 - 994314. K Company, meanwhile was southeast of the other two companies, from 987308 to 989310.

At intervals during these two days the battalion sent patrols up to within 75 yards of the enemy occupied pillbox (PB #P1 - Scorpio), east along the road at 999312. Likewise, the battalion put on demonstrations when other elements of the regiment attacked. L Company, in working towards the pillbox did not plan to take it at all costs, but rather intended to probe and fight according to the situation. The enemy had small arms, mortars, and artillery at his disposal, and resisted successfully the efforts to work in towards the pillbox.

Demolished pillbox # P1 at map reference 999312.
PAK Schartenstand (emplacement for anti-tank gun).

View from pillbox # P1 in the direction of L Company's attack.

7 October 1944 to 8 October 1944

There was no essential change in the situation. On one occasion the battalion tried to work a 155mm SP gun, which it had secured from artillery, into position along the road (vicinity of 993314) in order to fire directly on the enemy pillbox, but the gun commander stated that he could not find a suitable place for the gun.

9 October 1944

The battalion, minus L Company moved north. K Company left in the vicinity of 987305.

10 October 1944

The day was spent in moving the vicinity of Richelskaul (019524). Immediately upon arriving I Company was stationed around the crossroads at this point. In the meantime, L Company had been relieved by elements of the 4th Cavalry Group, and pulled around in a Iarge circle to join the rest of the battalion.

11 October 1944

K and L companies committed to the south from Richelskaul.

They attack at 1100, with the tanks and TDs giving support. L Company was on the right, and K on the left, just west of the main road. They reached the firebreak at 014312, where infantry and small arms fire of the enemy hit them auout 1200. L Company came down to the position and remained there.

12 October 1944

One platoon of K Company pushed on south to contact the 1st bn, while another went southeast to the road to establish a position on the flank facing the enemy to the east.

L Company pushed south to contact elements of 1st Bn on the east of the objective. Meanwhile the pillbox (PB #5/6 - Scorpio) at 009308 was still held by the enemy and gave constant trouble.

13 October 1944

The 1st Battalion was counterattacked, and K Company platoons shifted their positions in consequence.

14 October 1944

L Company took the pillbox and called for the engineers to bring up TNT to blow it up.

15 October 1944

The enemy counterattacked at 0400, and the fighting was close. Another attack, this one lighter, hit I Company but was repulsed. K Company also got a local counterattack.

16 October 1944

K Company took up a position along the main road, and began to lay mines and booby traps for a defensive position. Thus L and K companies together held a line from objective B (vicinity of 014306) northeast along the road to (019318) Richelskaul.

I Company held from 019318 to 019325. The mortars were in the vicinity of 015315, giving general support, while one machine gun section was, as usual, attached to each company.

17 October 1944

The battalion made a demonstration to the east and received small local counterattacks.

18 October 1944

L Company attacked east approximately 100 yards to better its position, in order to hold the east side of the ground which was higher than the west.

19 October 1944

At 1515, a sham battle was launched, with lots of fire. The enemy fired in return and it was more than an hour before the thing could be stopped.

20 October 1944

No significant action.

21 - 22 October 1944

Plans were made on the 21 October for an elaborate attack to the east towards the town of Schmidt (062297), with alternate plans "A" to "F", depending upon the situation. This plan was not put into execution.

23 October 1944

3rd Bn companies began to get relieve. I and K went first, before daylight, and L completed by 1200. The Bn went to assembly area 997318 by 1330, to Eupen vicinity (845275) by night. To Camp Elsenborn by 27th.



Source: N.A.R.A. Archives