History 3rd Battalion,112th Infantry Regiment, 28th Inf. Div.

Company K

26 October 1944

Company arose at 0500 and immediately prepared to cross an IP at 0655. As this was a motor movement, the men carried all their equipment with them, including their bed rolls. After travelling about 35 miles due North, we crossed into Germany again, through the border towns of Roetgen and Rott into an assembly area in the woods. We were in Division reserve and therefore, several miles behind the front lines. The company dug in, constructing overhead shelters and fighting foxholes. the kitchen arrived and under company control was set up in the company CP area. This is the first time that the kitchen has been with the company since Ger. It gave the new men a chance to meet the kitchen crew and mail clerk.

27 October 1944

The company remained in the same position. In the morning the men continued to improve their shelters and in the afternoon the company met a training schedule. The weather continued to improve to the extent where the sun remained out for more than an hour at a time. For the first time in two and a half months, hot cakes were served for breakfast.

28 October 1944

We awoke this morning to a blue sky and a warming sun. The first sunrise we had in about 40 days, and furthermore, it remained out all day. Training schedule started at 0900 and continued through 1630. Church services were held at 1600. The last 3 men to be chosen for the Paris pass were told to be ready at 1200. Including the last group, 10 EM and one officer will have seen Paris through the pass system.

29 October 1944

Another beautiful day and a good breakfast featured by french toast. At 0900 the company had a training schedule to meet which lasted until 1630. However, men were permitted to attend church services and movies during the day. There was plenty of activity during the day and evening. We were alerted to move the following day at 1300.

30 October 1944

Awoke this morning to the routine grey, misty day. We had our spell of good weather probably for some time. The men struck their tents and made their rolls. Prior to moving we had chow at 1100 to permit the company to cross the IP at 1300. The company marched 6 miles deeper into Germany, pitched tents and dug shelters. From 1900 to 2200 the company was paid for the month of October in German invasion marks.

31 October 1944

Men arose to eat a hot chow and spend the major part of the morning turning in their surplus money for PTA. In the afternoon the rain came as usual. Nothing of a special nature occurred. For the balance of the day the men relaxed. Hot meals were served for the other 2 meals. The men enjoyed the treat of cake and whipped cream for supper.


HQ Company

31 October 1944

The Battalion then made its fateful move toward Schmidt. The men were oriented as to the significance of their mission, that of taking the key town in order to prevent the Germans from inundating the area with flood waters from a nearby dam. Two Divisions had been shot up before them but this time it would work out.

1 November 1944

The Battalion made preparations for an attack to be made the next day.

2 November 1944

Regimental attack started. 2nd Battalion reached vicinity of Vossenack with little opposition. 3rd Battalion took over positions vacated by the 2nd Battalion.

3 November 1944

The 3rd Battalion followed the 1st Battalion in the attack towards Kommerscheidt and Schmidt. The 1st Battalion was to take Kommerscheidt and the 3rd Battalion was to by-pass and go on to Schmidt. Objectives reached through some artillery and mortar fire. In Schmidt only sniper fire was encountered. Battalions dug in.

4 November 1944

Enemy tanks made appearance in Schmidt, supported by infantry, and forced the 3rd Battalion back to the 1st Battalion in Kommerscheidt. The Germans pressed their attack towards Kommerscheidt but were repulsed by heavy artillery concentrations and air support. The Germans held Schmidt.

There was only one road through which heavy equipment could reach our troops in Kommerscheidt. It was a poor road leading through impassable woods and was heavily mined. One tank, trying to get through, was disabled and remained as an additional barrier no other equipment could get through. Our troops in Schmidt and Kommerscheidt were denied adequate tank and anti-tank support.

5 - 7 November 1944

Repeated attacks were made by the Germans supported by artillery and tanks, so furious, that several counter-attacks we planned, had to be cancelled.

The Battalion continued to receive air support.

The enemy artillery became heavier and heavier.

Major Cota ordered the 1st and 3rd Battalions to withdraw to an area between Zweifall and Germeter and another unit went into the line.

Back in Normandy the 3rd Battalion had received a staggering number of casualties in fights around Hill 210 and Hill 288, but both of those actions combined couldn't equal the loss sustained at Schmidt and Kommerscheidt. Men who had been with the Battalion all through hedgerow fighting said that nothing they encountered there could begin to compare in ferocity and intensity of artillery fire with what happened in the Hurtgen Forest. A full Battalion of men went into action on the 3rd of November......on the 7th of November, a company of men withdrew. Yes, it was well named Bloody Hurtgen Forest.

Col. Nelson assigned to take over Regiment on the 7th November.


Company K

1 November 1944

The company was alerted this afternoon to move out the following morning and hot chow was ordered. The men spent the day cleaning their equipment and the necessary ammunition and weapons to be used in the attack were issued. They were going to carry one blanket and their overcoats in a horseshoe roll on their packs and sufficient rations for 4 meals. About 1800, Captain O'Malley called together the platoon leaders and briefed them on the situation and type of terrain to be fought over.

2 November 1944

Company arose at 0730, had a hot chow and made up their bed rolls and packs. At 1105, the company moved over the IP and after marching 4 miles arrived at the assembly area at 1630 and took over vacated positions of the 2nd Battalion, together with companies I, L, and M. This was the first area that company K moved into that the men did not dig foxholes or slit trenches of their own.

3 November 1944

Company arose at 0500. Captain O'Malley informed the platoon leaders of the attack orders. The company prepared to move out of the area at 0630. They did not carry their overcoats or blankets, leaving them back with their rolls. Lt. Tyo sustained a badly bruised knee and being unable to move out with the troops returned to the kitchen where Sgt. McLauglen doctored him very well. The Battalion objective was the town of Schmidt, some two and a half miles distant, and company K was out on the point. The company passed through the 2nd Battalion at Vossenack at 0730 which they had taken the day before, and in the gully below, the first batch of jerries, 7 in all, were captured. In the first sharp engagement, jerry mortars and artillery fell around our men, killing S/Sgts Rupszyk and Marlowe of the 3rd platoon and T/5 Kukla, a medic of the 1st platoon, and injuring 2 others. Captain O'Malley rallied the men and got them safely over the rough spot without any additional casualties. At approximately 1300, we moved in on Schmidt and had taken 50 prisoners. While checking the position of the company, Captain O'Malley was shot by a sniper in the left side and had to be removed. In the fight that followed, several men were injured by rifle fire and the company set up a defensive position. Captain Thomas, of Company L, was given the command of company K.

Pfc. Wilhelm H. Schultz, ASN 37581810.... "It was early morning when we pushed off for Kommerscheidt and Schmidt in Germany, on 3 November 44, and we caught the heinies with their pants down. By 1130 we had taken Kommerscheidt and Schmidt and over 70 prisoners without too much trouble after we got over the rough spot which was later to be known as 'Death Valley'. mortar fire killed 2 Sgts-Rupszyk and Marlowe and the Medic, Brown and wounded a few others, but Captain O'Malley rallied the men and rushed them up the hill. The company spread out and was waiting for L company to come up on the flank. About 1630 they arrived and the companies started to move out. I company was out and K company almost out of Schmidt when Battalion runners came up and told the COs to hold up at Schmidt and dig in. While checking the company positions, Captain O'Malley was hit by sniper fire and evacuated. Captain Thomas from L company took over."


HQ Company

1 - 3 November 1944

Under Lt. Col. Albert O. Flood, the Battalion moved out from its rifle range assembly area prettily, passed Germeter, and swept over Vossenack. The forward CP was set up there, temporarily.

"I got the idea that things weren't going to be easy when I saw 7 tanks going up the road," says Pfc. Harry Hall, the Battalion mail clerk who was an L company runner at the time. "The krauts started to shoot up the tanks, and I don't think more than 4 got away. The trouble was, once a tank was disabled it blocked the way for reinforcements coming up those lousy roads. Everything was jammed up."

Abe Antin, K company runner attached to Battalion, was with Hall when the first heavy artillery concentration was laid upon Vossenack. The two men dived into an open grave. Things got worse. "Well," Hall told Antin gloomily, "we picked the right spot. All they have to do is cover us up."

"The main thing I remember," says Hall, "is that the krauts seemed to have more shells than we had carbine ammo. And the only thing we outnumbered them in was dead."

"The impression I got," says Pfc. Dolph H. Groves, who was the assistant Operations Sergeant at the time, "is that they had us surrounded on at least 4 sides. I know the red marks on the map told me otherwise, but that's the way it felt."

Strangely, the line companies moved up to Schmidt through areas which had been subjected to intense shellfire a short time previous, yet sustained no casualties while passing through the zone upon which the enemy guns seemed to be zeroed. Another strange thing was the way individuals became more like themselves than ever under battle stress. "Or maybe it wasn't so strange," comments Hall. "When you're under pressure, you forget to try to fit into a picture. You just act natural."

The OP group dug in at Kommerscheidt at about 10 o'clock the night of the 3rd. Major Robert C. Christensen, the Executive Officer, brought up the CP group and the Headquarters company forward elements and "operated" from a dugout until finally driven back.

On the night of November 3rd, S/Sgt Robert D. Connelly, the supply sergeant, brought C-rations, mail, and chocolate cake to the Headquarters company men crouched miserably in their holes. While the shells came whooshing in, he passed out his precious cargo, moving from hole to hole in spite of danger. When he left, he took the K company commander and at least 10 wounded enlisted men in the four-weazel supply train.

"On my way back," Connelly says, "the bursts were so close that shrapnel hit the weazels. We got back to the supply base on the other side of Vossenack at about 3 o'clock in the morning of the 4th. It was my birthday. What a birthday!"


Company L

3 - 6 November 1944

Pfc. Arnold A Lederer....."Company L was following company K. We by-passed Kommerscheidt and went down a heavily wooded draw that led towards Schmidt. It was at the draw our tanks had to stop -- couldn't get through because of the woods and the rain-softened ground. In this draw we moved forward single file. The draw endened about 300 yards from Schmidt -- we pulled up there while K company went on into Schmidt across a big open field. They didn't meet much fire and sent word for us to go on in. We went in. It was about 1700. It seemed to me that there was a lot of indecision as to what we were to do stay there or push on. We finally were told we were staying. It was about then the company had its first direct fire from the enemy snipers. We located one but couldn't get him out, even with bazooka shells that went right through the window where he was. By that time it was too dark to select dug-in positions so we put up in houses that were very solid stone structures. I was in the 3rd platoon and we were placed more than a half mile away from the rest of the company. Nothing happened during the night. As it was getting dark, Sgt. Duncan had reported to the CO that he had seen haystacks on a distant hill that were moving around. Ridiculous, who ever heard of a haystack moving -- Sgt. Duncan must be getting jittery, seeing things like that; we found out differently the next day.

Just as dawn broke on the 4th of November a white flare went up from a house about 100 yards away. We looked around and, Oh! What a sight: There was a long line of jerry tanks coming down the same road we had used to get to our platoon position! Jerry artillery began falling. For the next two hours we didn't get any direct infantry attack, but we could hear the other men (L and K company) catching plenty. Then, from what I learned later, this is what happened. The other men received word to withdraw, we didn't get the word I think the runner was killed -- and we didn't even know that the others pulled out. It was then we began to see jerries all around us. Jerry artillery had stopped because they knew their men were in town. Luckily for us, our artillery started because they had been told our men were out. It was our artillery, cracking all around us, that saved us from the krauts who had to lie low. We remained that way for three hours. The platoon leader figured something was wrong because we could see Germans all over the place where our other men were supposed to be. We couldn't pull out the road we came in there were jerry tanks all along it. Fortunately, our platoon sergeant had come back to us from a Paris pass early that morning and had come via the road that led from Kommerscheidt he was the only one in the platoon who knew the way out. As we pulled out our artillery was going strong in addition, the Germans had tanks all over the town firing down the lanes. Every time we crossed a street an 88 would fire at us. Just as we cleared the town our planes came in strafing and bombing it. We were still so close that some of us were hit by the flying debris. We got back to the Battalion at Kommerscheidt.

Our platoon, what was left of it, was put into positions in Kommerscheidt near the edge of town facing Schmidt. there about an hour when the Germans began their attack with Tigers and infantry. We could see the tanks as they came out of Schmidt. One TD on our left opened up. We could see his first round bounce off the Tiger. The second shot was from the Tiger and it knocked the TD out. There were two more TD's on our right they weren't even pulled out to a firing position -- I don't know why-- maybe they saw what happened to the first TD. Those Tigers were only 50 yards from us when we were told to withdraw. We pulled back about 600 yards to a woods. And, again the Air Corps was just in time, strafing and bombing the jerries as we pulled back. Though that air attack was uncomfortably close, I was glad to have it it stopped the krauts.

That evening we returned to Kommerscheidt and took our same positions. There was light sporadic shelling during the night.

We had nothing to eat all day.

The morning of the 5th of November, just before daylight, we got a day's K ration, the first food in 34 hours.

With daybreak we also got heavy artillery fire. At 0800 the Germans started to attack again with tanks and infantry but before they could get much out of Schmidt our air corps and artillery stopped them.

Another attack about noon. This time the attack got too close to us before the planes and artillery could get in -- so close we had to move out of our positions to the rear of Kommerscheidt. The air corps and artillery finally came in and drove the krauts back. There were no more attacks that afternoon only artillery, artillery, and more artillery landing all around There was some shelling at night but it was peaceful compared to the day.

Bright and early on the 6th of November the artillery began coming in even heavier than the day before. The platoon CP was hit and the Battalion aid station got it too. The krauts really had their guns zeroed in now they were beginning to drop rounds right in the foxholes. At 0900, again an attack -- tanks and infantry -- again the air boys and the artillery scotched it before it got far from Schmidt. After that attack was broken up the artillery and mortar came in so heavy that you no longer could make out individual bursts it was one long, continuous, bursting, earth shaking, blast that would last for 10 minutes -- there would be an accidental pause, as though the heavens were drawing in a deep breath, and then the hellish 10 minute roar would begin again. That continued all through the day up to dark. At noon a mortar shell had hit at the side of my hole, caving it in. I was hit in the hand and leg but I couldn't leave to get back to the aid station, only 100 yards away, until darkness had quieted the artillery.

I was evacuated that night.

I remember that all day of the 6th of November there was a young Major with a radio in a foxhole near me. He gave orders to the air corps and artillery all day long, directing the activity. He stood up every opportunity he had. In fact, several times he remained up when he should have been down."

Pfc. William F. Mihelich....."In Schmidt, our platoon, the 2nd, separated from the company. We went to the outskirts of the far end of town and dug in. We saw a few Germans on a distant hill, too far for our M-1's and too few for our mortars.

During the night we kept hearing tanks. We didn't know whether they were friendly or enemy.

Just before dawn on the 4th of November artillery and mortars began raking the ground around us. It lasted about a half an hour. When it let up, the bazooka team and about 6 supporting riflemen, who had been placed about 200 yards to the left and slightly forward of the rest of the platoon, got out of their foxholes and ran towards us yelling that tanks were coming right at them. They got up to us still jabbering away and artillery began coming in again. The platoon seemed to disintegrate -- a few darted out of their foxholes and headed back into Schmidt -- a few more and then the whole platoon took off. In Schmidt, we met Captain Thomas leading a group of men, not only L company men, but others too. We joined him. He led us back to the wooded draw we came through the day before. We moved along very slowly because of the wounded men we had. Once we reached the draw we were no longer drawing artillery fire though we could hear plenty of it still landing in Schmidt.

After about half in the draw, the group stopped. Captain Thomas told them, about 150 men, to remain there while he, with a patrol of 5, tried to contact Battalion. I was on the patrol. We did contact Battalion in Kommerscheidt. The same patrol was sent back to bring in the other men, but couldn't make it. It seemed as though the Germans had closed in on the path the patrol had come through. (That night, 2 men were sent out in another attempt to reach the group, but the 2 didn't come back and neither did the group.) In the afternoon we were moved out of Kommerscheidt into some woods, but in the evening we went back to the town.

The 5th of November started with a heavy barrage. In a momentary lull, I stood up, my chest and head out of the double foxhole. My buddy was sitting down next to me. Suddenly there was a terrific explosion right in front of the hole. Dirt came up at me and I blacked out for a few seconds. When I recovered I was partly covered with dirt. I was pretty dazed, 2 of my fingers were hanging -- broken, flesh ripped, some liquid began coming out of my ears, my face felt as though I had been hit a glancing blow with a sandpaper-covered sledge hammer. I looked at my buddy; he was partly covered with dirt too, but was out cold, I staggered to the CP they sent someone after my buddy. Yes, he was out cold ---forever. They took me to an aid station, a house. There were a lot of wounded lying all around. The artillery was still pounding away. Ten minutes after I got there, 2 American tanks pulled up on each side of the aid station and fired away at the jerries. A few minutes later a shell hit the back of our house -- I don't know what happened to the wounded men back there but some men in the room with me got more shrapnel. Immediately after that, all walking wounded were told to get out quick. We had to move, walk and run, across a half mile of open but downhill space, the artillery still thundering into Kommerscheidt. We reached a wooded area that was not a target for shelling. After a while, ambulances took us from that point."


Company I

3 - 7 November 1944

It was a long hard day, hills climbed, streams waded and everyone was cold and wet. All this time we were being constantly shelled. We finally arrived at Schmidt. "It was an easy job taking Schmidt, but holding it -- Whew!" said Leonard T. Johnson of Cal. The only communications we had was the SCR 300. During the night everything was quiet but early that morning the town was very heavily shelled and then a flare shot up and that was the beginning of the German counter-attack. Tanks and infantry soon began to rumble into the town. A very bloody battle ensued and many a German was killed and many a Yank blown out of his foxhole. As Vance Conard said, "It was quite a sensation to see your buddies killed along side of you and also see our bazooka shells bounce off the tiger tanks." Due to the fact that the town was surrounded by the enemy we were forced to withdraw to Kommerscheidt. P 47's came to aid us and they temporarily halted the tanks. The artillery was terrific and we didn't know which was which, enemy or ours. "It was the first time we had to fight armor without the help of anti-tank weapons," so quotes platoon leader Carl Smith. For the next few days a terrific battle raged. One counter-attack after another. When the company was finally relieved only a handful of men were left.


Company K

4 November 1944

As the daylight was breaking, a strong German counter-attack supported by tanks and infantry drove the company and Battalion out of Schmidt and back 600 yards to the town of Kommerscheidt. During the action, part of the 2nd, and all of the 3rd and 4th platoons were cut off and presumed to be lost, and the company suffered heavy air casualties. At about 1130, the 3rd Battalion reformed at Kommerscheidt, the remaining 35 men of the company being with them. At 1400, fierce counter-attacks on the town of Kommerscheidt were repulsed with the aid of air support by a flight of P 47's. Lt. Tyo rejoined his platoon at 2200.

Pfc. Wilhelm H. Schultz....."Early the morning of the 4th, the heinies hit with infantry and tanks and the fight started. The 2nd and 3rd platoons were overrun and cut off. The last they were seen was taking off for the woods on the right of Schmidt. The balance of the company pulled back to Kommerscheidt From there on the action becomes heavy with tank, artillery and mortar fire and I'm not exactly sure what happened. I had to take back some prisoners we had and I guess that's why I'm here today."

5 November 1944

Two more counter-attacks repulsed today, the first at 1000, and the other at 1630. A11 during the day we were subject to heavy shelling by mortars and artillery. Positions were held.

6 November 1944

Heavy shelling continued all about our positions. 6 more casualties suffered, 3 of whom were fatalities. Company strength reduced to 26 enlisted men and 4 officers. Positions held.

7 November 1944

At 0800, the Germans launched a strong counter-attack led by the 116th Panzer Division, the 1st battalion of the 60th Panzer Grenadier Regiment and the 156th Panzer German Regiment. Battle was taken up by American tanks and TDs with the aid of infantry. At 1200, orders given to withdraw from Kommerscheidt, resulting in many casualties and missing. Among the missing were Lt. Caroli, Lt. Musolff and Sgt. A. Johnson.

Capt. Thomas, S/Sgt. Quarels and Sgt. Stadelbacker returned through enemy lines to safety during the afternoon.


HQ Company

4 - 7 November 1944

Captain Eldon Y Stewart, the Headquarters Company Commander, must have been among the few who maintained an icy composure and a Samaritan concern for the welfare of others during the holocaust. Once, when the Germans were so close that small arms fire was slashing through the trees and underbrush, he was observed sitting under a tree reading a map. Another time he was seen helping Pfc. Paul E. 'Pop! Adderty to dig his foxhole. Both the captain and Adderty, a veteran message center man, were reported missing in action after Schmidt.

Another man of almost superhuman coolness was 1st Lt. William O. George, the battalion transportation officer who later was to become L company's commander. He was in the CP when things were hot. A man nervously called out: "Lieutenant, shrapnel is coming in the doorway!" George did not even move his lanky frame out of the chair in which he was snatching a few moments rest. "Okay," he drawled. "Shut the door!"

S/Sgt. Siegbert Strauss, the present operations sergeant, says of artillery, "It was so powerful, so loud, and so continuous that it seemed to form a background that you got used to. We were so tired that we didn't even hear the shells when they landed close. And when we woke the next morning we had to cut our way out of the holes. The tree bursts had cut enough limbs to literally bury us."

The cooks tried to get a supply train through on the night of the 4th. Artillery fire knocked out the train and isolated the group for 2 days.

T/4 Kieth Southworth, present radio chief, also was cut off without food or water for 2 days. "Our artillery is better than the Germans," he says. "I know. I caught plenty of ours while I was trying to get out of Kommerscheidt, which was supposed to be entirely in jerry hands at the time. It has a lot more concussion than the German shells."

Pfc. Ray R. Gurney, wireman who was wounded in the action, has a compliment for our planes. "A P 47 dropped an egg on a jerry tank and blew it up," he recalls. "I was impressed. couldn't help but be. The tank was only 75 yards away."

The men of the A&P platoon carried ammunition all night of the 4th under withering fire, from the ammunition point behind Vossenack, to the CP at Kommerscheidt. T/Sgt. Richard D. Taylor led the parties, doing his last heroic bit before he joined the other 31 Headquarters Company men listed as missing in action after Schmidt.

Pfc. Melvin K. Lewis and Leo Taylor, present motor sergeant, laid lines to Regiment at Rott under heavy fire, then had to lay a second wire when the first one was blown out.

1st Lt. William O. George went 5 continuous days and nights without sleep, from November 3 to November 8. He was the driving power behind all efforts to keep supply and transportation funct- ioning throughout the battle.

Given the job of protecting a line company flank, the Greene Hornets were pinned down by 3 machine guns. They got out of it by tossing back Nazi-lobbed grenades and ended up with 2 dead Germans and another probably killed. Another job at Vossenack netted them 3 more dead Germans and 17 prisoners.

Detailed to find men lost in the confusion of battle, they picked up between 35 and 40 men and returned them to the fray in good order.


Company K

5 November 1944

On the 5th of November, the remainder of the company had dug in, this side of Kommerscheidt, and with the enemy tanks active and with the conditions of our own supply routes so impassable that armor and TDs couldn't make it up to the battle area, air support was called for.

The P 47's hurriedly put in an appearance and mistook our positions for jerry emplacements. Realizing their error, S/Sgt. Johnston raced across 100 yards of open terrain to get some air panels and then managed to display them before the planes did too much damage. It was impossible to distinguish the tanks from the air because the Germans had them camouflaged to look like hay stacks and they moved them very slowly. As a result, the planes were of no use. (That is the personal opinion of one man. Many others, present at the time, say the planes were of help.-Ed.)

Returning to the company, S/Sgt. Johnston noticed 2 tanks slowly edging their way towards the right flank. Grabbing a bazooka and 2 rounds from a fallen comrade, he ran up on the blind side of the tank and stopping within 25 yards of it, fired both rounds, completely disabling the vehicly and forcing the other to leave the scene of action.

S/Sgt. Johnston's action enabled several men to make it back to the assembly area but he himself was not seen again.


Company M

7 November 1944

Sgt. Provencher, Reconnaissance Sgt.... "Just a few hours before we received orders to withdraw from the vicinity of Kommerscheidt, Lt. Wright came over to our three man foxhole and asked us if we wanted to volunteer to carry wounded personnel back to the rear. There were over 60 litter cases. We had to get rid of all weapons and side arms. We knew that the gully we had to go through was in enemy hands, but rumors came through that the enemy would let all seriously wounded personnel through. Noone knew exactly how we were to go but general orders were to follow a road to the rear and try to contact the 109th Infantry. We started down the winding road with the litter cases. It was snowy and muddy and we practically had to drag the litter cases. When we got to the bottom of the gully we saw a bridge with a German sentry barring our road. He stopped us and asked where we were going. He spoke in German and French and I could understand him through my knowledge of French. Seeing he was' in a receptive mood, I shot the bull with him and bluffed it through that we were supposed to be allowed to pass through the lines to our aid station. At first he wanted to bring us to his own aid station, which was about 100 yards down the creek to the leit. But one of the men had the bright idea of offering him a cigarette. He was pleased with the offering and thought that his commander would a prove the evacuation of wounded men. While he was puffing his cigarette we pushed on through to our lines. I took a last look back and I saw 3 Germans in a large foxhole who had kept us covered with a machine gun all the time. They must have approved of his decision because none fired on us as we continued our hurried exit to the rear. The next day, while evacuating these men, we were stopped by about 20 Germans who wanted to take all who could walk, prisoner, while letting those seriously wounded go to our lines. It was a truce there for a while as our Battalion Surgeon spoke to the German Major. It began to look like I would be taken prisoner, as I heard the interpreter repeating to the surgeon that all men not with the aid station would be taken prisoner. Another man and I then casually strolled down the road and about 400 yards down the road we contacted the 109th Infantry."


HQ Company

4 - 7 November 1944

Still another time, they ran into a sniper lodged in a house. They fired 10 rounds of bazooka ammo, 30 rounds of 60 mm mortar, and 10 rifle grenades but they couldn't touch him. But the Germans, warned by the sniper, began hurling artillery into the area. Greene looked around for his men. Then he saw 4 of them. They were bringing in 50 prisoners through the Nazi barrage.

Amazingly, the battered line companies up at Schmidt were taking prisoners as the German counter-attacks fizzled during the first action on the 4th. That morning, the men huddled about the Kommerscheidt CP were startled to see 40-odd kraut, still wearing their steel helmets, come hurtling down the road. The Headquarters men held fire only because they could see 3 GI's with the krauts. These were Abe Antin, one of the K company runners attached to battalion, his partner, Pfc. Lester C. "Wildcat" Perry, and a K company platoon runner named Wilhelm Schultz. The column, under German observation all the way, was plunging down an alley of shellfire.

There being no place to keep PWs at Kommerscheidt, the runners were ordered to take them to Regiment. Wildcat Perry had to stay at battalion, since K company communicatios demanded at least one runner on duty with battalion at all times. Antin and Schultz took off with their charges.

From Kommerscheidt to the Regimental CP was about 4 miles. Shells, direct tank fire, and even scattered machine guns banged away at the column as it went on. Antin and Schultz, both German speakers, had to threaten and wheedle the terrified prisoners out of their holes time after time. When the krauts took cover once too often, the tough pair of little short guys poked them with bayonets and made them double-time the rest of the way. The whole bag of prisoners reached the CP undamaged.

Another valiant team was the ammunition-dump combination of Pfc. Thomad P. Demkowicz and Pvt. Charles E. Broderick. They manned the 3rd Battalion dump established near Vossenack from the first advance to the final withdrawal. When the 109th Infantry dump was shelled and its personnel forced to withdraw after suffering heavy casualties, the 2 men took it over. Other 112th dumps also fell into their hands. They soon were operating the only ammo dump forward of Service company, and they lived the Nietzean life for more than 5 days while operating the combined mountain of explosives.

When they found business slack, Broderick and Demkowicz hid in their holes. When vehicles drove up for more ammo, the drivers stayed in their holes until the pair had loaded the vehicles, then dashed out and drove off.

T/4 Robert F. Johnson, the battalion motor pool mechanic, was put on call early by Lt. George, who ordered him to go forward to repair a weazel which had thrown its track and was blocking the narrow trail through a draw. When Johnson reached the spot, he found about 15 tanks and several other vehicles dispersed in the fields behind the draw. The tanks were badly needed up at Schmidt, yet they could not go ahead until the weazel was repaired. With everybody else either buttoned up in a tank or crouched in a hole, Johnson went to work on the weazel. He hit the dirt when the stuff came in and bobbed up and resumed his work when the incoming mail slackened a little. He stayed on the job until well after nightfall, and when he finished, the tanks went forward to participate in the fight. The weazel followed them up and did its duty evacuating wounded for the medics.

The bitter, bloody saga of the anti-tank platoon is one of gallant effort, frustration, and sacrifice. T/Sgt. Kasper Wayne Kugler got his guns under way toward Kommerscheidt and, after stubbornly forging ahead in spite of everything the Germans could throw, saw all three guns smashed before he could work them into position. The decimated platoon dug in and held. They stuck it out until ordered to withdraw, and then began their retreat, which was even worse than the advance. The platoon reached the comparative safety of the rear assembly area with only 5 men left, including Kugler; a weary but determined kid named Carmelo Aloi who was to become platoon sergeant one day: Frank Cervola, who was slated to step into Kugler's spot after the battle; Pfc. Floyd C. Kreder, and Pfc. Eugene P. Jasper. Kugler helped the wounded Cervola to make it. Two other anti-tank men, wounded early, were lucky enough to be included in the last load of casualties evacuated from the medical aid station. They were Russell D. Gebhart and Earl W. Ellis, who returned to duty and went the route with the platoon clear across the Rhine.

S/Sgt. Leo V. Kiefer, the squad leader whose first shots had really proved the worth of the 57's at Compiegne, was listed as missing in action after Schmidt.

At Kommerscheidt, Col. Flood held a Company Commanders' meeting. His question was: "How many men do you have left?" The answers ranged up to 70 and down to 50. Just as the question of remaining equipment was coming up, tanks could be heard rumbling closer. A direct hit drilled through a nearby building. "Gentlemen" said Col. Flood, "get your men out. This is no place for us.

From the night of the 4th until the 8th, the trickle of battered, weary men of the 3rd battalion gradually brought the outfit back to skeleton strength in the woods of the Rott kitchen area. Headquarters Company dazedly counted its losses. The switchboard men had come out but no wiremen. The anti-tanks had five, not counting drivers. A&P was a withered handful.

T/Sgt. Carl E. Shoaf, the sergeant major, had been wounded; S/Sgt. Richard E. McCain was MIA, leaving intelligence without a head; S/Sgt. Robert Luce, the operations sergeant, and T/Sgt. Clifford L. Allen of A&P were MIA. Wire chief Paul C. Benson and radio chief Morris Erney were MIA. The anti-tank platoon had lost every squad leader: S/Sgts. Paul C. Benson, Leo L. Cannon Roy M. Danforth, Sr. and Leo V. Kiefer.

Wayne Kugler became 1st sergeant, "Glad," he said, "that the new men won't be able to compare me with John Collier," his wounded predecessor. Supply sergeant Bob Connelly took over the sergeant major's job.


Company L

8 - 13 November 1944

The company had taken a terrific loss of men in the battle of Schmidt. When the company pulled out it had only 11 men left. Between the 8-13 of November 140 reinforcements were received, The company slept in pup tents and received 3 hot meals a day. The Division band supplied music for consolation. The stories of Schmidt went night and day - the replacements asked question after question - looks of worry and fear on their faces as the survivors of Schmidt told their tales. Captain Walker, CO, Lt. Mc- Anally, Executive Officer. Security posted around platoon and company areas.


Source: Excerpt Third Battalion History. Third Battalion 112th Infantry. Jul 44 - Apr 45. Archives Section - Fort Leavenworth Kansas

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