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HEADQUARTERS COMBAT COMMAND BIT SEVENTH ARMORED DIVISION APO 257

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HEADQUARTERS COMBAT COMMAND BIT SEVENTH ARMORED DIVISION APO 257

    After Action Reports

    of

    Combat Command “B

    7th Armored Division

    August 1944 - August 1945

    Transcribed from the original documents in Box 15656 (7th Armored Division 607-CCB-0.1 to 607-CCB-0.3) of Record Group 407 (Adjutant General’s Office) at National Archives II in College Park, MD by

    ; Wesley Johnston, son of Walter Johnston of Company “B”, 38th Armored

    Infantry Battalion (August 1944-June 1945 reports)

    ; Beverly Kent, daughter of Eugene O’Connor, of Troop “B”, 87th Cavalry

    Reconnaissance Squadron

    Edited by Wesley Johnston. The original spellings and format are generally retained in the transcript. Word wrap in which a line of text continues to the next line is not necessarily as in the original. In some cases in the transcription, the font size is reduced from the original or blank lines between paragraphs are removed, in order to keep each page together.

If there is any question of accuracy, please contact Wesley Johnston

    (wwjohnston@aol.com) so that the original scanned images can be checked to assure that the transcript does or does not match the original.

S-E-C-R-E-T HEADQUARTERS COMBAT COMMAND "B" SEVENTH ARMORED DIVISION APO 257, c/o PM N.Y.,N.Y. 3 September 1944 SUBJECT: Battle Report. TO : Commanding General, 7th Armored Division, c/o PM New York, New York. 1. In compliance with Administrative Memorandum #31, Headquarters 7th Armored Division, 21 July 1944 paragraph 2 and request Commanding General 7th Armored Division the following "Battle Report" is submitted. 2. During the Battle of France, the Combat Command Headquarters has functioned as a tactical headquarters in much of the capacity of the Standard Brigade headquarters. 3. The Combat Command is commanded by Brigadier General JOHN P. THOMPSON, O-3741, USA. 4. The narrative history of the Combat Command during the Battle of France follows: Combat Command "B" was initially assembled in tactical bivouac in the vicinity of LESSAY, France. The troops making the Combat Command "B" task force were landed over OMAHA and UTAH beaches and the complete Combat Command assembled to function tactically August 12, 1944 composition as follows: Headquarters and Headquarters Company Combat Command "B" 31st Tank Battalion 434th Armored Field Artillery Battalion 23rd Armored infantry Battalion B Company 33rd Armored Engineer Battalion Combat Command "B" as constituted moved in single march column via PERIERS - SAVSAUVIER - COUTANCES - GOUVRAY - LE HAYE PUSNEL - AVRANCHES - ST. LORIENT - ST. GEORGES - LOUVIGNE and bivouaced. Moved from bivouac and marched in single column via LAVAL - BON CHAMP - LA CHAPELLE - CHATRES - EVRON and bivouaced. The composition of the Combat Command was altered in this position in preparation for an attack to the NORTH EAST composition as follows: Headquarters Company Combat Command "B" 31st Tank Battalion 434th Armored Field Artillery Battalion 23rd Armored Infantry Battalion B Company 33rd Armored Engineer Battalion B Company 774th Tank Destroyer Battalion Attached after passing thru 317th Combat Team 80th Infantry Division. - 1 -

S-E-C-R-E-T - 2 - The attack was cancelled and the attachment of B Company 774th Tank Destroyer Battalion and 117th Combat Team 60th Infantry Division released. The Combat Command was moved from EVRON in a single column via ASSE - ROUESSE - CORMES - COURGENARD - ULPHACE - BEAUMONT - THIRON - HAPONVILLIERS - LES CORNEC - LA FERTE BERNARD - COURVILLE. Command Post was established when resistance encountered in COURVILLE. Contact with enemy made 14 August 1944. Task force commanded by Lt. Colonel Allison entered COURVILLE 15 August 1944 after enemy resistance of infantry and Anti-Tank guns was reduced. All resistance ceased at 0630 15 August 1944. Combat Command direction of movement altered to the EAST axis of advance COURVILLE, CHARTRES, ABLIS, DOURDAN, ARPAJOU. Combat Command "B" moved via above route in two (2) Forces under command of Lt. Colonel Allison and Lt. Colonel Erlenbusch. Enemy resistance encountered on the outskirts of small villages surrounding CHARTRES. Enemy defenses of CHARTRES consisted of sporadic mine fields, 3,000 troops, including one Flak Battalion a& scattered Anti-Tank strong points estimated number of Anti-Tank guns including calibres of 20mm to 80mm 50. Heavy Anti-Tank Mortar, machine gun and scattered artillery pieces and rifle fire and bazooka strong points were encountered in the 3 days battle. The Battle of CHARTRES consisted of one coordinated night attack by 2 forces. Force I under Lt. Colonel Allison attacking EAST from NORTHWEST side of the town. Force 2 under Lt. Colonel Erlenbusch attacking NORTHEAST from the SOUTH of the town. The entire attack receiving artillery support from 434th Armored Field Artillery Battalion under Lt. Colonel Dubuisson. Force I penetrated enemy defenses with infantry and established a Command Post within the NORTHEAST quarter of the town. Force 2 encountered heavy Anti-Tank fire in small towns of LUCE and LUISANT but penetrated to CHARTRES but failed to maintain continuity of the attack due to heavy losses and inability of tanks to fight in the very narrow streets of the old town of CHARTRES. The infantry of Force I remained in the town but Force 2 withdrew to regroup. The second attack of CHARTRES took place on 17 August 1944 with same composition of troops but with additional artillery support from XX Corps Artillery. All efforts were made to spare destruction of historical buildings in the town of CHARTRES by XX Corps Commanders order. Only point targets were to be engaged under observation. The troops of the Combat Command encircled CHARTRES with troops occupying the NORTHEAST quarter of town and troops in position NORTH, NORTHEAST, SOUTHEAST, SOUTH and Main Supply Route running SOUTH of the town. CHARTRES garrison held positions facing the encirclement in depth from high ground outside CHARTRES to the buildings in the outer edges of the town. The coordinated attack was successful and apparently resistance was reduced. The fact that CHARTRES was a "report station" for disorganized and beaten units and stragglers from the surrounded and battered units on the western front caused the garrison to be reinforced by an estimated 200 - 300 men per 24 hour period. This fact accounted for the severe third attack on 18 August 1944 which annihilated the garrison in CHARTRES. The Germans lost 1800 killed, wounded and missing; 400 prisoners and all vehicles, weapons, materiel, airfield with 30 - 40 destroyed fighters, and ammunition dumps destroyed on captured. Some German troops escaped via secret routes to other "report stations". The final composition of Combat Command "E" was as follows at the conclusion of the Battle of CHARTRES.

S-E-C-R-E-T - 3 - Headquarters and Headquarters Company Combat Command "B" 434th Armored Field Artillery Battalion 31st Tank Battalion 23rd Armored Infantry Battalion 38th Armored Infantry Battalion 179th Engineer Battalion (-1 company) B Company 33rd Armored Engineer Battalion B Company 814 Tank Destroyer Battalion B Company 77th Medical Battalion Supporting XX Corps Artillery On the night of the 18th August 1944, the Combat Command regrouped and moved in single column via CHARTRES. Orders were received by the Combat Command to move via CHARTRES - CHATENEAUF - DREAUX, and there to establish bridgehead north of DREAUX to protect the supply lines of the XIX Corps. Movement from the Area EAST CHARTRES began at 2350 18 August 1944 in one column with normal Combat Command plus B Company 814 Tank Destroyer Battalion. Head of column reached CHATENEUF at 0257 19 August 1944 and closed in bivouac at CHERISY at 0930 19 August 1944. 23rd Armored Infantry Battalion plus and 31st Tank Battalion plus outposted EAST and WEST flanks NORTH of DREUX. Road blocks established in all avenues of approach within our sector. Tight enemy resistance encountered and driven back of Out Post Line. 0530 20 August 1944 this command took over the bridgehead formally occupied by Combat Command "A". Command Post moved WEST CHERISY but moved back again to original position after coming under artillery fire. Combat Command "B" placed in XX Corps reserve 1620 21 August 1944. Movement to RAMBOUILLET in one column began at 2200 21 August 1944. 0700 22 August 1944 in assembly area 2 miles WEST RAMBOUILLET. 774th Tank Destroyer Battalion attached. Orders from XX Corps to move at once via LIMOURS - BREUGNY - COURCOURENNER - MELUN. Left present area at 1535 22 August by passed CORBEIL to the SOUTH 1and arrived BONDOUFLE 25 August 1944 0025. Received Division Field Order #5. Movement in one column started 2030 23 August 1944 to MENNECY via BONDOUFLE - vert-le-GRAND - vert-le-PETIT - BALLANCOURT. Head of column arrived MAZY at 1240 and closed in bivouac 1 mile NORTHWEST MENNECY at 1740. Notified by Division to follow Combat Command "A" across SIENE RIVER, proceed thru the Combat Command "A" bridgehead and attack and capture that part of MELUN NORTH of river. Reverted to 7th Armored Division at 2002. At 0200 24 August 1944 Field Order #5 Headquarters Combat Command "B" given to command. Composition of forces as follows: Force I (ALLISON) Force 2 (ERLENBUSCH) Combat Command Trps Trains 23rd A.I.B. 31st Tank Battalion Hq Co Combat Com'd B Trains B Co. 33rd A.E.B. 434 ( - ) B Co. 77 Med A Co. 434 AFA Bn. 774th TD (- 1 Co) 1 Co 129 Ord Combat Command "B" crossed SIENE into Combat Command sector, Combat Command Reserve frontal attack of MELUN 1730 24 August 1944. Combat Command "B" received orders to take MELUN by dawn. 25th August 1944 attack jumped off at 0200 held up until 0400 by hasty mine fields. Infantry assault passed through tanks and were in MELUN at 0715. 23rd Armored Infantry Battalion mopped up small pockets of resistance during most of day and outposed town of MELUN. 25 August 1944 received Division Order to move EAST in the direction of TOURS. 23rd Armored Infantry Battalion attempted to move through MELUN but were held up by 81mm fire. Attack begun at 0630 artillery concentration was laid down on enemy position EAST of MELUN.

1 The 25 is as in the original; it probably was intended to be 23.

S-E-C-R-E-T - 4 - Force I proceed axis of advance to NANGES, Force I proceed SOUTH within our zone cleaning out all enemy before them, coordinating with Force 2. Force I ran into Anti-Tank gun fire 1 mile EAST MELUN 2 halftracks knocked out but overcame resistance pushed on to vicinity of CHATILLION-LA-BORDE from SOUTH and knocked out 4 Anti-Tank guns. Both forces pushed on to approximately 4 miles EAST of NANTIS. Combat Command "B" given order to push NORTH to REIMS splitting into 3 forces. 27 August 1944 head of column moved at dawn to 2 miles EAST VULAINES halted by Anti-Tank and machine gun fire. Proceeded to move NORTH to bypass 2PROVINCES. Moved NORTH passed through town of SEZANNE and halted in march column 5 miles NORTH SEZZANE. Combat Command "B" was then divided into 3 forces and to move NORTH on parallel routes. On the 28th of August 1944 vehicles were gassed and moved out at 0730. Moved along axis of advance SOIZY AUXBOIS, LE PETIT MORIN BAYE, MONTPERTUS, MONTMORT encountering small pockets of resistance. Knocked out 4 Anti-Tank guns SOUTH OF town, entered EPERNAY at 1800 tanks leading followed by infantry commanded by Lt. Colonel ALLISON. Tanks got as far as bridge over MARNE but were halted by heavy Anti-Tank gun fire and bridge was blown by electric mines by enemy. Command held in EPERNAY until 0700 29 August moved out of EPERNAY and crossed river MARNE on pontoon bridge at PORT A BINSON. Forces were halted all along the way due to running together of different units and columns. Marched all night arriving in WARMERSVILLE where enemy resistance was encountered. Warning orders were received from Commanding General 7th Armored Division to prepare to move to VERDUN. Notified to reconstitute command less Combat Command Reserve and move to assembly area vicinity WEST of PONT-FAVERGER. 1300 Field Order #9 Headquarters 7th Armored Division notified Combat Command "B" to advance EAST in multiple columns prepared to reinforce left flank guard of Division. Seize bridgehead over MEUSE RIVER in route of its advance. Force A under Lt. Colonel ERLENBUSCH ran out of gas 6 miles WEST MONTHOIS 0600 31 August. All efforts was being made to supply gas to this force, Force B at ATREY, Force C, tail of column Force B. Force C was sent along a NORTHERN route to try to obtain crossings of ford at AISNE RIVER; successful obtaining ford at MOVRON. After crossing ford 2 blown bridges and mines were encountered EAST of MOVRON, reconnaissance was made up and down river, no bridges or fords disclosed and force was withdrawn to vicinity BOUCONVILLE. Force B after vigorous reconnaissance located bridge site EAST of AUTREY. 2 squads of engineers ( B company 33rd ) committed to form; bridgehead relieved by infantry at 1645 ( A company 23rd ) Bridge company arrived approximately 1750. Reconnaissance crossed bridge at 2030 (A/87) 1 platoon on each of 2 routes, 1 platoon reserve. 1 platoon in reserve. Reconnaissance moves quickly as possible to AIRE RIVER to reconnoiter for and secure bridges APERMONT-CHATEL. Column A (ERLENBUSCH) followed reconnaissance across bridge and moved into assembly position on NORTH route. Column C (JOHANSON) to follow. Column B (ALLISON) across bridge and go into assembly position on northern route. Reconnaissance disclosed all bridges blown across AIRE. Columns A and C moved out of respective routes ready to cross river soon as fords or bridges were located by reconnaissance. No officers or enlisted men distinguished themselves in this command. Technician 5th Grade EARL D. APPLEGARTH, 35375098 was killed in action 26 August 1944 1? miles WEST NANTIS. For the Commanding General: (signed) WILLIAM W. ROSEBRO, JR Lt. Col., Infantry, Executive Officer.

2 Provins

S-E-C-R-E-T HEADQUARTERS COMBAT COMMAND "B" 7th ARMORED DIVISION A.P.O. 257, U. S, ARMY 4 October 1944 SUBJECT : After Action Report. TO : Commanding General, First U. S. Army. (THRU: CHANNELS). 1. In compliance with Administrative Memorandum #31, Headquarters, 7th Armored Division, 21 July 1944, par. 2, and request Commanding General, 7th Armored Division, the following "Battle Report" is submitted. 2. During the period covered by this report, the Combat Command Headquarters has functioned as a tactical headquarters in much of the capacity of the Standard Brigade Headquarters. 3. Commanders of the Combat Command were as follows: Brig, Gen. JOHN B. THOMPSON, 1-8 Sept. 44 Lt. Col. ANDREW J. ADAMS, 8-11 Sept. 44 Brig, Gen. JOHN M. DEVINE, 11-25 Sept. 44 Brig, Gen. ROBERT W. HASBROUCK, 25-30 Sept. 44 4. The narrative history of the Combat Command during period 1-30 Sept. 1944 is as follows: On 1 Sept. 44 this Combat Command was moving East across the AIRE River vicinity of APREMONT, France in two (2) columns. Composition of the Combat Command at that time was as follows: Headquarters & Headquarters Company, Combat Command "B" 31st Tank Battalion 23rd Armored Infantry Battalion 434th Armored Field Artillery Battalion B/33rd Armored Engineer Battalion B/814 Tank Destroyer Battalion A/87 Reconnaissance Squadron Mechanized Combat Command continued its move East to assembly area NW of VERDUN. Both columns moved on same route after the North column ran into heavy resistance at EXERMONT. The night of 1 September 44 CC "B" bivouac area bombed by enemy planes, two killed - five wounded. Combat Command was completely in assembly area NW VERDUN at 0100 2 September 44. At 1010 2 September Force moved N from assembly by Division order. Force consisted of: 2 Co's Tanks, 1 Co Inf., and 1 Btry F.A. At this time Combat Command gas supply was extremely low with no additional supplies available. All available gas tanks were drained to provide gas for the Force moving N generally along the W bank of the MEUSE River. Force reached a point 1 Mi N MONTFAUCON at that point went into assembly area. Status of their gasoline supply was such that they were unable to move any further N, no enemy contact reported. 4 September 44 enough gas was received at Combat Command to enable the Force to assemble vicinity MONTFAUCON and return to the Combat Command assembly area NW VERDUN. A/87 was relieved from CC B and reported to 87th Rcn Sqdn. 5 September small quantities of gasoline being received Combat Command still not completely gassed. S-E-C-R-E-T

S-E-C-R-E-T - 2 - 6 September 44 received orders to attack from assembly area to E side of MEUSE River. 23rd A.I.B, D/31 and B/33 were left in the assembly area NW VERDUN waiting for gas with which to refuel, rest of Combat Command moved out in preparation for the attack. Attack was to be made in two columns as follows: Force 1 (Allison) Force 2 (Erlenbusch) Troops 23 (-B) 31 (-A & D) Hq CC B (F-1) 434 (-C) B/23 B/814 (-) B/33 (-1 Plat) C/434 Trains & D/31 A/31 1st Plat B/33 2nd Plat B/814 3rd Plat B/814 Final orders were issued in the assembly area just E of VERDUN and forces moved out into the attack crossing LD at 1445. 23rd Inf, B/33 and D/31 had still not rejoined the Combat Column. First enemy contact made by N column at GRAVELOTTE, where the column was held up by artillery and small arms fire. The tanks of the column deployed to support the attack by the 87 Rcn Sqdn to their front. Arty supported the attack, displacing forward under enemy arty fire coming from GRAVELOTTE. At 1953, 23rd Inf rejoined CC. North column bypassed GRAVELOTTE to the Right encountering mines S of GRAVELOTTE. South column attempted to bypass GORZE where they encountered mines and booby traps and heavy arty fire. Forward elements reached MOSELLE River 7 September in face of heavy resistance by enemy dug in on both sides of river. First attempt to cross the river on 7 September in assault boats failed. Troops on W side of river receiving heavy fire from enemy mortars, automatic weapons and small arms. 8 September bridgehead was forced vicinity of DOURNOT, by 23rd A.I.B. in conjunction with troops of 5th Inf Division. All forces in bridgehead pinned down by heavy fire. 9 September there were three Co's in the bridgehead. The Force in the bridgehead was unable to enlarge it and enemy fire prevented any further reinforcing of the bridgehead. Bridgehead at DOURNOT was finally withdrawn on 11 Sept in favor of a new bridgehead at ARNAVILLE. 12 Sept CC B crossed MOSELLE River at ARNAVILLE in two forces. Mission was to outpost a line MORDIGNY - LORRY - DEVANT - MARIEULLES. The operation was successful. Resistance during the operation was light although heavy arty fire was received throughout the bridgehead. The bridgehead being formed; Combat Command attacked with two (2) forces, with the mission to enlarge the bridgehead. On the 15th the two forces jumped off. The tank column with one company of infantry progressed slowly due to heavy fog. The infantry column moving in the direction of VITTONVILLE fell behind the tanks. The two forces progressed steadily on, over difficult terrain and reached their objectives, the towns of MAIRDIGNY and VITTONVILLE, and the dominating hill 223, the fourth objective being taken by CC "R". CC B relieved by the 5th Inf Div of objectives 2 and 3 proceeded to formulate plans to attack SE generally following the high ground then E to BOUXIERES. At 1330 18 September Force 1 under Lt, Col. Erlenbusch moved out and by 1530 reported in BOUXIERES receiving heavy arty fire. F-2 reported their leading elements in BOUXIERES at 1450 but pinned down by enemy arty fire. Little ground was gained beyond that point, and at midnight the two forces dug in to hold the ground gained. 48th AIB less two Co's was attached to CC "B", moving from the southern edge of CC A area to join this command. F-2 the following day (19 Sept) jumped off at 0700 and in an hour advanced 1500 yards. F-1 jumped off soon after F-2, both forces proceeding as far as LONGUVILLE where they were held up by sniper, MG and mortar fire coming from the town. Efforts made to flank the town were unsuccessful due to heavy arty fire. At 0200 20 Sept Co. A repulsed a counterattack, a platoon of tanks being sent to their assistance. Plans were made to bomb CHEMINOT and under cover of the arty fire to rush patrols across the SEILLE River. The air mission called for was cancelled but under the cover of an arty preparation at 1745, bridging equipment was brought up but were driven back by enemy arty, mortar and automatic weapons fire.

S-E-C-R-E-T - 3 - The following day plans were made to cross under the cover of darkness. At 0145 22 September 1944, Companies A and B of the 23rd AIB crossed the river and began establishing a bridgehead. The feint at LONGUEVILLE drew heavy arty fire. Bridging equipment brought up was inadequate, so losing the element of surprise and due to the vulnerability of the position, the force withdrew. 23 September 1944 the Command received orders to cancel the Operations Instructions for a coordinated attack with the Division to cross the river and on the 24th of September 1944 the 7th Armored Division was relieved by the 5th Infantry Division. The CP moved back across the MOSELLE River to HADONVILLE on the 25th of September 1944 where orders were received to move NW into the First Army Zone through ARLON - ATTERT - MARTELENGE MARCHE MODAVE - HUY - HANNULT, CP LEUTH, BELGIUM. A march of 198 miles which was accomplished in 24 hours, closing into the assembly area 27 0055 September 1944. The 7th Armored Division mission of moving NE, encircle through the 21st Army Group (Br) area and attack bridgehead from the North. Patrols were established in the CC B assembly area at LEUTH. Patrolling continued until the 29th of September 1944 without any contact with the enemy. 30 September 1944 the CC B CP moved to the vicinity of ST ANTHONIN, HOLLAND attacking at 1530 encountering strongest resistance vicinity SAMBEEK and VORTUM. 5. The following named officers and enlisted men distinguished themselves in this headquarters: SILVER STAR BRONZE STAR PURPLE HEART 1st Lt Henry W. Hays Capt Owen E. Woodruff Jr. Tec 4 George E. Chandler Sgt Forrest L. Grobe Pfc John Lloyd Tec 5 Jesus L. Paderez Tec 5 Ira C. Jones Pvt Paul Nichols Pvt Earl N. Young Pvt Ode J. Garner Pvt John H Hipsher Tec 5 Earl D. Applegarth (P) 6. The following named officer and enlisted men in this headquarters were evacuated as battle casualties: 1st Lt. Aaron Sosnow Tec 4 George E. Chandler Tec 5 Jesus L. Paderez For the Commanding General: J. F. Hart J. F. HART Lt. Col., Inf., Ex, Off .

S-E-C-R-E-T HEADQUARTERS COMBAT COMMAND "B" 7TH ARMORED DIVISION A.P.O. 257, U. S. ARMY 3 November 1944 SUBJECT: After Action Report. TO : Commanding General, 7th Armored Division, APO 257, U. S. Army. l. In compliance with Administrative Memorandum #31, Headquarters, 7th Armored Division, 21 July 1944, par. 2, and request Commanding General, 7th Armored Division, the following "Battle Report" is submitted: 2. During the period covered by this report, Combat Command "B" was commanded by Brigadier General ROBERT W. HASBROUCK. 3. On 1 October 44, Combat Command "B" was composed of the following troops: 31st Tank Battalion 23rd Armored Infantry Battalion 434th Armored Field Artillery Battalion B Co., 33rd Armored Engineer Battalion B Co., 814th Tank Destroyer Battalion Combat Command "B" Headquarters located vicinity ST ANTHONIS, HOLLAND and the Combat Command was in the process of attacking South from a line ST ANTHONIS - BOXMEER. The mission of the Combat Command was to clean out enemy resistance on the West side of the MAAS River; bypassing known centers of resistance, VENRAY - VENLO. Enemy resistance in that zone had previously been reported to be light and not very well organized. Combat Command "B" did not complete the mission because resistance in their zone was found to be well organized and dug in. They were stopped vicinity VORTUM by mines, AT guns, bazookas, and infantry dug in in the woods. Combat Command "B" was relieved in this sector by CC "R" and reverted to Division Reserve. Combat Command was assembled 1 Mi North of ST ANTHONIS, awaiting orders. During the period that CC "B" was in reserve, they were responsible for patrolling to the North to contact the British and to the East, BOXMEER - VORTUM. 6 Oct 44 CC "B" relieved CC "A" in their sector just North of OVERLOON, relief was accomplished during hours of darkness. The enemy counter-attacked frequently but these attacks were broken up by artillery fire. Very little change in the situation 6-7 Oct 44. On 7 Oct 44, CC "B" was relieved by Br troops, ordered to defend a line to include DEURNE - ASTEN. Combat Command was divided into two (2) forces as follow: FORCE RHEA FORCE ERLENBUSCH 23 (-B) 31 (-C) C/31 B/23 B/33 A/82 A/87 B/87 C/203 B/ 203 Force RHEA occupied sector in vicinity ASTEN and Force ERLENBUSCH vicinity DEURNE. Road blocks were set up and extensive patrolling was carried out. There was little enemy activity up to the 12th of October except for artillery fire received by elements of Force Rhea which was occupying the town of MEIJEL. S-E-C-R-E-T

S-E-C-R-E-T - 2 - On 12 October 44 Force RHEA was relieved by the 38th Armd Inf Bn and all troops 'CC "B" were moved North of the DEURNE - AMERIKA railroad. Also on 12 October 44, CC "B" put on a diversionary demonstration to assist the attack of the British who were attempting to take VENRAY, The diversionary attack consisted of a two hour artillery preparation fired on all known or suspected enemy concentrations to our front. Included in the fire plan was indirect fire by the following units of the Combat Command: 2 Med Tk Co's 31st Tk Bn B/814 TD Bn AG Plat/31 AG Plat/23 This was in addition to the fires of the 434th Armd FA Bn and the 774th FA Bn. For the demonstration, each AG and artillery piece fired 100 rounds per gun, and each Med Tk and TD fired 50 rounds per gun. At the same time feints were made by the 23rd Inf under cover of smoke screens at crossing the DEURNE canal in two places. On 13 Oct 44 the firing demonstration was repeated. On 16 Oct 44 the Combat Command attacked East along the DEURNE - VENRAY road to establish a bridgehead across the DEURNE canal and continue after the bridge had been built to effect a junction with the 3rd Inf Div (Br) in the area West of VENRAY. The attack was made by the 23rd Inf supported by the 434th FA Bn, and 31st Tank Bn and B/814 TD firing indirect fire. Bridgehead was established and bridge completed during the night 16-17 Oct 44. During 17 Oct 11th AD (Br) moved thru the bridgehead established by CC "B" and took over responsibility for the bridgehead, releasing the 23rd Inf to carry out a new mission which was to attack South on the East aide of the DEURNE canal, establish a bridgehead across the DEURNE canal on the DEURNE - AMERIKA road. Their attack was supported by direct fire from B/31 Tank Bn. The bridgehead was completed on 19 Oct 44. The primary delaying factor during the attack was the boggy nature of the terrain, which made it extremely difficult for the tanks to maintain close support with the Infantry. It is believed that close support of tanks during this attack had a demoralizing effect on the enemy infantry which was dug in in this sector and was in a large measure responsible for the taking of 151 prisoners during this operation. 20 Oct 44 23rd Inf was relieved in the bridgehead by the 48th Inf and CC "B" was assembled vicinity ZOMEREN in Division Reserve. 21 to 24 Oct inclusive CC "B" remained in Division Reserve. This period was utilized for intensive training to correct deficiencies which had shown up in previous operations. On 25 Oct CC "B" relieved CC "R" in the bridgehead across the DEURNE canal on the DEURNE - AMERIKA road, with the mission of holding their present positions, maintaining contact with the British 11th Armd Div on our Left. Activity during this operation was confined to extensive patrolling. On 27 October 44 CC "B" was relieved in the bridgehead by the British and ordered to attack abreast of CC "R" on division order astride the DEURNE - MEIJEL road, with the mission of retaking the town of MEIJEL and driving the Germans back across the canal. Attack was launched on 28 Oct with Combat Command split into two forces. One force consisting of one Co. Inf, one Co. Tks (Med) attacked East from LEISEL to seize the enemy held bridge across the canal at HOOGEBROUG. The other Force consisting of the remainder of the Inf supported by Med Tks attacked South astride the DEURNE - MEIJEL road to take MEIJEL. Neither force reached their objective that day. At night were ordered to take up defensive positions and hold ground gained. 29 Oct enemy tanks and infantry attacked driving the force which had been moving on HOOGEBROUG back to LEISEL. In the afternoon, 44th Brig, 15th Div (Sc) began relief CC "B" in this sector. Tanks were withdrawn first and the infantry broke contact during darkness and withdrew. The whole Combat Command moved to an assembly area vicinity WEERT to reorganize and await further orders. 30 October CC "B" was ordered relieve CC "A" in their sector. Composition of CC "B" for this operation was as follows: 48th AIB, 31st Tk Bn, C/814 TD Bn, C/203 AAA with 434th FA Bn in direct support. Combat Command zone was divided into two sections and the CC was divided into S-E-C-R-E-T

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