|To: Commanding General, XII Corps, Attn: AG (Historical
In accordance with AR 345-105 and changes thereto,
the following After Action Report is submitted:
The following narrative relates incidents
of Military interest which we, the 150th Engineer Combat Battalion experienced
thru direct or indirect engagement with the enemy in France for the period
010001A September 44 - 302400A September 44.
September 1, 1944 found the Battalion bivouacked
near the town of St. Menehould, France, A Company is still attached to
XX Corps providing security, B Company engaged in clearing mines and booby
traps in the vicinity of St. Leonard. Lt. Pierce of A Company with his
assigned driver was reported missing 2 Sept. 44 in action while serving
as security for advance reconnaissance party establishing forward Corps
Headquarters in the vicinity of Clermont-En-Argonne. It is believed Lt.
Pierce was ambushed and captured; many of his personal belongings were
found strewn about the road at Clermont.
The Battalion departed Manre near St. Menehould
021520 Sept 44 and arrived at bivouac area 1 mile SE of Nizeville at 1645
hours. Operations is stressing extensive Engineer Recon. Particularly bridge
materials and transport of same. The weather has turned cold and wet. Morale
Excellent. Battalion departed Nizeville 070745 Sept 44 arrived ½
mile South Jarny (Near Metz) 2100 hours. Bivouac area on grounds of a grand
Chateau formerly occupied by a German General Staff only 24 hours prior
to our arrival.
On 8 September, 1944, C.O. received orders
(See Attached Order) relieving the battalion from attachment to XX Corps
and attaching us to XII Corps; VOCG XX Corps. "To be in close support of
the 35th Division". At 1300 C Company (Attached to the 5th Infantry Division,
XX Corps) was assigned the mission to construct a Treadway bridge across
the Moselle River near Dornot. Capt. Makholm Commanding C Company dispatched
his 1st platoon for preliminary reconnaissance and preparation. The ensuing
engagement with the enemy, who were defending the enemy shore at the proposed
crossing site was a memorable episode and a milestone in the History of
the 150th Engineer Combat Battalion. The courageous effort demonstrated
by all those concerned will long live in the memory of we, the officers
and men of this organization. Lt. Helstrom Commanding the 1st platoon C
Company moved his unit to the proposed site. The river was narrow, approximately
150 feet wide, flanked by steep hills on each side. The enemy was situated
in an extremely will fortified position; enemy observation of our troops
moving in was excellent.
Lt. Helstrom reported to the Officer Commanding
certain element of the 10th Infantry and was assigned the mission of ferrying
across troops and supplies, as well as evacuating the wounded form the
far shore. At the first attempt to load troops in assault boats Lt. Helstrom
and his troops were met with intense and withering fire, automatic, mortar
and 20 MM. Despite this intense fire Lt. Helstrom continued his mission
until relieved by Lt. Sparling Commanding the second platoon of C Company.
Lt. Helstrom was under fire for five (5) hours continuously. Lt. Sparling
moved in his troops to continue the mission. The enemy had maneuvered automatic
weapons to cover their flanks, front and rear. More than one-hundred (100)
wounded were evacuated and many boat-loads of supplies were brought to
the isolated troops on the enemy shore. Lt. Sparling was under intense
fire for more than seven (7) hours. Fifteen (15) casualties resulted three
of whom died. Capt. Makholm directing from his CP in the town of Dornot
all the while, was blown from the building by a direct hit which killed
three of his associates, while he escaped unharmed.
On the 10 September we were assigned mission
of supporting 35th Infantry Division in an assault crossing of Moselle
River. Forward C.P. plus companies moved forward to vicinity of Benny,
South of Nancy and established liaison with assaulting Infantry. Reconnaissance
for crossing sites was made.
A and B Companies assigned mission of ferrying
Infantry across Moselle River. Final assembly area occupied and assault
operation began just propr to dawn. A canal and a ½ mile carry of
assault boats across a swamp added to the normal difficulties of such an
operation. In the A Company sector a ford was found and ferrying was not
necessary. Enemy discovered crossing at dawn after approximately 4 companies
had crossed and intense artillery, mortar and small arms fire pinned down
those troops on the far shore as well as a number in the swamp between
the canal and river. At 1600 the Division committed its reserve; B Company
ferrying troops across 2 miles South of Crevechamps at Newviller-sur-moselle;
C Company constructed a 130' bridge at the same site. 2 Infantry support
bridges and one Treadway bridge, all of 21' span were constructed across
the intervening canal during the day. All construction proceeded under
sporadic F.A. fire. Under cover of darkness C Company moved into position
and started construction of a Treadway bridge at Crevechamps but intense
small arms and F.A. Fire forced abandonment. C Company moved to a site
near Newviller-Sur-Moselle where small arms fire had been reduced.
During the days action at Crevechamps our aid station received a direct
hit wounding 2 men. The aid station changed location 3 times due to intense
barrages from enemy artillery. B Company had 5 men wounded in the crossing
and Headquarters suffered 1 casualty (WIA). (See attached Commendation).
The battalion departed the vicinity of Benny
141300 Sept. And arrived at Ferrieres 1500 hours. A Company assigned mission
of forcing an assault crossing of the Meurthe River. On 16 September, 1944
A Company moved into final assembly area in early hours and at dawn ferried
the 137th Infantry Regt. Across the Meurthe River and 2 canals parallel
to it in an assault crossing. Fording was possible at St. Nicholas but
ferrying was necessary at Lanueville and Jarville, South East of Nancy.
Infantry held on far shore and tanks enveloped by use of bridge at Dombasle.
On 171600A September, 1944 this organization
was further attached in close support of the 4th Armored Division. Mission
in general; to provide maintenance of roads and bridges for Combat Command
B North and South. The Company Commanders were attached to their respective
CC columns in conjunction with the 24th Divisional Engineer Combat Battalion.
The battalion less C Company moved to and area 2 miles South of Chateau-Salins
arriving at 1150 hours. C Company being engaged in clearing obstacles MSR
N-74. A Company engaged the enemy at Chateau-Salins 19 September, breached
a minefield and held a defensive position in conjunction with the 51st
Infantry. The enemy staged a counterattack, bringing heavy mortar and 20
MM fire to bear on A Company troops. A Company held the position despite
the heavy fire until relieved by the Infantry. Resulting casualties seven
(7) EM, including 1st Sgt. Swetland. At 1400 hours the battalion was ordered
to move to the vicinity of Fresnes-En-Saulnois. The Adjutant departed as
advance party to contact CCB and establish an assembly area. As the column
approached the area of Fresnes, the Armored elements were poised for battle
and all attention was centered on the artillery barrage and bombardment
focused on German positions some 2 miles distant to the North.
The Companies moved with their respective
columns into the selected bivouac area. There was little enemy action during
the remainder of the day except during the period 1700 -1800 when 88's
pounded the area. The following four days were spent digging in, protecting
ourselves against the artillery bombardment from which we had no rest.
A total of 5 casualties, one of whom, Sgt. Fyrbeck was killed by direct
hit, resulted from 20 September to 24 September 1944. On 20 September Capt.
Anderson and his driver S/Sgt. Snyder believed to be captured while en
route to Group Headquarters. The next day the battalion Mail Clerk Cpl.
Sidarowicz with M/Sgt. Lukens were missing in action, believed captured.
The battalion was ordered to withdraw to the vicinity of Gremecy arriving
242100A September, 1944. H&S Company provided normal Staff and Service
functions this day while C Company maintained bridges and roads in the
MSR vicinity of Pettoncourt. On 25 September, 1944 the battalion moved
to a wooded area, during extremely heavy rainfall, 1 ½ miles SW
of Champenoux. In general we were to rest and repair equipment until further
orders. Companies providing security and maintenance in the general area
of Brin and Pettoncourt and construction of Treadway and Bailey bridges.
B Company while maintaining and defending a road block near the village
of Pettoncourt suffered three men killed and 3 wounded due to an enemy
The remainder of this month, an eventful
one for the 150th Engineer Combat Battalion was terminated with no further
direct engagement. Maintenance of roads, construction of bridges, clearing
of minefields and extensive Engineer Intelligence reconnaissance comprised
the majority of Engineer missions assigned.