HEADQUARTERS 137TH INFANTRY
APO 35 U S ARMY
1 January 1945
SUBJECT : Report After Action Against Enemy
TO : The Adjutant General
Washington 25, D.C.
1. In compliance with the provisions of Par 10 C3, AR 345-105, submitted below is report after action against the enemy for the 137th Infantry covering the period 1-31 December 1944.
1 DECEMBER 1944
The 35th Infantry Division maintained its position in XII Corps reserve on December 1. On November 24, the 137th Infantry had been relieved from contact with the enemy, after driving for sixteen days through the retarding mud and rain to seize and hold Hellimer and St. Jean-Rohrbach. In its assembly area, the 137th Infantry Regimental Headquarters was located at Bening, Special Units in Villers, 1st Bn in Harprich, 2d Bn in Bistroff, while the 3d Bn remained in Leyviller. This day marked the regiment's 146th day on French soil, 111 days of which were spent in actual combat, with 137th elements opposing the enemy on the front lines. A training program was scheduled for this period of relative inactivity which consisted of pill-box assault activity, handling of demolitions, and staging of attacks on fortified positions. The regiment's vehicles were washed, weapons cleaned and inspected the 735th Ord Company.
2 DECEMBER 1944
The 137th Infantry remained in reserve on the 2nd and made preparations to move the following day to a new assembly area.
3 DECEMBER 1944
The 137th Infantry moved seven miles, approximately northeast, to its new assembly area on the morning of December 3 and remained in division reserve. Regimental Headquarters, Special Units and the 2nd Bn closed into Erstroff by 1000. The 1st Bn moved to Linstroff by 1055 and the 3rd Bn was billeted in the town of Grening by 1140. Service Co continued its stay in Villers. The regiment was ordered into Corps reserve, and suitable reconnaissance was conducted, in view of the fact that the 137th might be employed in any sector of the Corps. Two Quartermaster Truck Companies, the 443rd and the 3905th were attached to the 137th to provide transportation for the regiment's next movements. The 443rd located itself in Morhange by 1100 and the 3905th was established by 1415 in Brenestroff.
4 DECEMBER 1944
On this day the 137th Infantry remained in its assembly area and its status of Corps reserve.
5 DECEMBER 1944
Again the 137th Infantry remained in its assembly area as Corps reserve.
6 DECEMBER 1944
The 137th Infantry made a motor movement approximately fifteen miles east through the early morning rain of December 6 and closed into its forward assembly area by 0900. The 3rd Bn had remained in Grening. Regimental Headquarters opened in Hirbach at 0730, 2d Bn in Bettring by 0840, and the 1st Bn in Holving by 0900. No enemy artillery fire was received by any units of the regiment during the day. The two Quartermaster Truck Companies, the 443rd and the 3905th, became detached from the regiment, with the exception of the trucks providing transportation for the 3rd Bn, which was still located in Grening.
7 DECEMBER 1944
There was no change in the status of the 137th Infantry on this day.
8 DECEMBER 1944
The 137th Infantry regiment moved by foot to another forward assembly area approximately nine miles east, in the direction of Sarreguemines, on December 8. Regimental Headquarters, Anti-tank Co and the 1st Bn located themselves in Hambach by 1345. The new Regimental Command Post was opened at 1245. The 3rd Bn closed into Neufgrange by 1500, while the 2nd Bn moved into the Foret de Sarreguemines, just south of Siltzheim. Service Co was situated in Gueblange. The 1st Bn was alerted to move by foot from Hambach to Sarreguemines, to occupy the town and patrol the south bank of the Saar River. The Bn prepared to move at dawn on December 9. Reconnaissance was conducted with a view to moving east of the river on division order. All was quiet in the towns occupied by the 137th Infantry regiment.
9 DECEMBER 1944
At dawn on December 9, the 1st Bn of the 137th Infantry moved up from Hambach to Sarreguemines to occupy the town for security and patrol the south bank of the Saar River. The riflemen occupying the city proper were constantly bothered by snipers who killed one man and wounded six others of the 1st Bn Service Co moved up to the town of Hambach and was closed in by 1130. The 137th Infantry was to attack the following morning, marching from its assembly area and across the Saar beginning at 0500, by using the railroad bridge south of the town. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions abreast, were to attack at 0730. The 2nd Bn on the left was to take that portion of Sarreguemines that lay north of the river and attempt to seize intact, the bridge that crossed the Blies River within its sector. The 3rd Bn was to attack within its zone and seize the high ground south of the Blies River. The 1st Bn, from positions on the south bank of the Saar, was to support the advance of the 2nd Bn by fire and cover the bridge across the Blies, in an attempt to keep the enemy from blowing it. Anti-tank Co was to support the attack from positions on the Saar River and the I and R platoon was to establish an OP on the forward edge of the woods, southwest of Sarreguemines.
10 DECEMBER 1944
The attack moved smoothly this day with the 3rd Bn crossing the railroad bridge on the southeastern outskirts of Sarreguemines without receiving any enemy fire. The battalions completed the crossing at 0545 and the 3rd Bn CP opened on the north bank of the river at 0700, just north of Remelfing. The 2nd Bn completed crossing right behind the 3rd, and both battalions closed into their assembly areas north of the river. With poor visibility from an overcast sky, but no rain, the two battalions jumped off at 0730, the 2nd on the left and the 3rd on the right. The 2nd Bn met bitter resistance from the enemy who was strongly organized in the Pottery Plant southeast of Sarreguemines. After a four hour battle, Co "F" captured the factory and moved again into Sarreguemines proper. Company "E" was cleaning out the buildings north of Sarreguemines while Co "F" worked in the factory. Co "E" had tough opposition in these houses and finished routing the enemy from their area at the same time Co "F" cleared the factory. During this battle the 1st Bn fired long range machine gun fire on the retreating enemy from positions across the river. The 3rd Bn operating on the right flank was receiving heavy fire and bitter resistance in its sector. At 1002, the 3rd Bn called for air support on the town of Neunkirch when enemy tanks were seen in the village. Co "L" moved off into Neunkirch and at 1500 had cleared the town. The 1st Bn across the Saar was still in support of the 2nd Bn and encountering sniper fire when darkness fell on the city. The 2nd hadn't quite cleaned out the city and the 3rd Bn was occupying Neunkirch.
11 DECEMBER 1944
The 137th Infantry continued the attack on December 11 as the 2nd Bn cleaned out the remainder of Sarreguemines, liberating 995 ex-PWs left behind by the Nazis, while the 3rd Bn pushed on from Neunkirch, took over the Sarreguemines airfield and went on to capture the town of Frauenberg, on the Blies River. At 0800, the 2nd and 3rd Bns shoved off again as the 1st received orders to secure Sarreguemines on the eastern bank of the river after the 2nd had moved on. The 1st Bn was to follow the 2nd at a distance of 800 yards. One platoon of the Anti-tank Company was in support of each battalion, and one platoon remained on the high ground with the 1st Bn. One platoon of the TDs also supported each battalion. The 2nd Bn experienced considerable difficulty in ridding Sarreguemines of the remaining enemy. All the buildings were honeycombed with passages and mouseholed for machine gunners and snipers. The 3rd Bn left Neunkirch at 0800 and at 0900 called for artillery fire to be placed on the high ground overlooking the Blies River from the north where the enemy had commanding observation. The 3rd Bn secured the high ground by 1000 and secured the position from where they continued the attack toward Frauenberg. One platoon from Co "K" supported by Co "M" machine guns entered the town and one hour later the entire company was engaged in fighting in the German border village. By 1700 the entire town was clear of enemy and Frauenberg was ours. The 1st Bn had crossed the Saar River and closed into eastern Sarreguemines.
12 DECEMBER 1944
At 0100, December 12, the 137th infantry had the first man in the division to enter Germany. Today the regiment was to develop the situation and patrol its flank, the left flank of the division. No crossings were to be attempted, except with division approval. The 134th Infantry was to cross the Blies at 0500. The forward elements of the regiment were heavily shelled throughout the day and quite a few casualties were suffered. Frauenberg was rapidly turning into the hottest town ever occupied by 137th troops.
13 DECEMBER 1944
While elements of the 137th Infantry's 3rd Bn crossed the Blies River into Germany before dawn on the morning of December 13 and encountered severe artillery fire throughout the day, the 1st Bn contained the large number of troops on the north bank of the Saar and Blies Rivers north of Sarreguemines, and the 2nd Bn maintained contact between the 1st and 3rd. Beginning at 0430, riflemen of "K" and "L" crossed the river in assault boats near the town of Frauenberg and were the first regimental troops to make the assault crossing of the Blies. Six of the eight boats attempting the crossing were successful. Two overturned in the water. These troops crossed in the face of heavy grazing fire from enemy machine guns emplaced on the high ground north of the river. Terrific artillery and mortar barrages met the boats as they reached the opposite shore and most of the boats were so riddled with bullets that they were unable to make the return crossing. No further crossings were attempted in daylight, since at each attempt to cross an intense barrage was laid down on the crossing site which was in direct observation of the enemy from the high ground across the river. In general throughout the regimental area, the artillery fire was unusually heavy. The 1st Bn continued to defend the left flank of the division and at 1300 reported considerable activity observed in the German sector. Heavy artillery fire was directed on this activity and it subsided. Co "B" OP received some direct fire from the woods opposite their position. Artillery fire was placed on the woods and the fire ceased. The 3rd Bn began crossing the Blies within its sector again at 2300 and by 2350, all of Co's "K" and "L" were over on the German side of the river.
14 DECEMBER 1944
The 3rd Bn of the 137th Infantry was entirely across the Blies River into Germany shortly after midnight and on December 14, pushed ahead to the high ground north and northeast of the river. The 1st Bn continued its defense of the division's left flank, protecting Sarreguemines and the regimental sector all along the Blies River while the 2nd Bn remained this side of the river and prepared to follow the 3rd Bn. Co "E" also was in position protecting the left flank. The 3rd Bn jumped off at 0630 under heavy small arms fire. The rifle units, "I", "K", and "L", in that order, were established in positions along the high ground north and northeast of the Blies River. In the woods, to the battalion's front, the enemy was delivering intense tank and mortar fire on the forward elements of the battalion. The enemy continued to shell the entire regimental area throughout the day, the 3rd Bn receiving a particular heavy barrage. Vehicles running along the road from Neunkirch to Frauenberg, did so at their own risk. The enemy had perfect observation on the road and the town.
15 DECEMBER 1944
The enemy opposing the 3rd Bn continued to hang on bitterly to the Breiterwald Woods on December 15, despite the fact that P-47s in the air support were bombing and strafing their positions. After reorganizing its forces, the 3rd Bn launched another attack on the Breiterwald Woods. Co's "L" and "K" advanced against fierce Nazi fire and took the small patch of woods just southeast of the Breiterwald Woods while Co "I" was driving onto the larger woods. "L" remained in the smaller patch of woods, while "K" in conjunction with "I" attacked the larger woods. Supported by armor, the two companies reached the center of the woods, meeting fanatical German resistance all the way from Nazi armor to infantry. Shortly before dark, the two 3rd Bn units were counter-attacked and driven back a short distance, but not out of the woods. During the night they were very heavily shelled by enemy artillery and mortar fire. The 1st Bn remained in position with the same mission of protecting the north flank of the division until it was relieved by the 42nd and 2nd squadrons of the 2nd Cavalry Group. Co "E" remained south of the Blies River and assisted the 1st Bn. Co "G", attached to the 3rd Bn, operated on its left flank for protection while Co "F" remained in reserve in Frauenberg. The 2nd Bn was to be committed the following morning with the mission of capturing Bliesmengen and Bliesbalchen. Today's casualties were the heaviest of any day since the regiment started its Saar River operation.
16 DECEMBER 1944
Pushed back to the edge of the Breiterwald Woods by the enemy on December 15, the 3rd Bn of the 137th Infantry attacked again, the well defended enemy positions in the forest and regained a portion of the lost ground. The enemy artillery fire remained extremely heavy throughout the day and Frauenberg received its usual pounding of intense artillery and mortar fire. At the same time our air support bombed and strafed Bliesmengen and the woods to the east of it. The 1st Bn was protecting the division's left flank in Sarreguemines and along the Blies River pocket. The 2nd Bn had Co "G" across the Blies protecting the rear flank of the 3rd Bn, while "E" Co was aiding the 1st Bn. Co "F" was being held in reserve at Frauenberg. The 3rd Bn launched its attack at 0750 with Co "I" working toward the Breiterwald Woods and Co's "K" and "L" aiming at the small patch of woods southeast of it. Co "K" entered a corner of the woods at 0830 capturing some prisoners, and by 1030 "K" and "L" occupied a small portion of the enemy held woods. Co "I" had encountered two enemy tanks on the edge of their woods at 0820 and had not been able to advance into Breiterwald. At 1230, Co "I" supported by friendly tanks, penetrated the woods, meeting fierce resistance. Co's "K" and "L" found their patch of woods quite a problem and by 1615 had not yet cleared the woods completely. Co "L" remained to hold the woods for security and Co "K" went on to assist "I" in the woods. Before dark the 3rd Bn elements were counter-attacked by German tanks and infantry and driven back to the edge of the woods. The 1st Bn was relieved at 1725 by the 2nd Cavalry Group. The 2nd Bn elements on the defensive relieve at 2130 by the 2nd Cavalry. The 3rd Bn had occupied the edge of the Breiterwald Woods for the night and was receiving sporadic enemy artillery fire and occasional flares. The 2nd Bn was to attack on December 17 with the mission of driving for Bliesmengen and Bliesbalchen, and the 3rd Bn was to continue on into the Woods.
17 DECEMBER 1944
137th Infantry elements on December 17 were fighting under the heaviest artillery fire they had ever experienced in France or Germany. The 3rd Bn forces in the Breiterwald Woods were unable to move against the savage enemy resistance and were taking a severe shelling all day. Our direct support artillery pounded enemy positions in the woods and the air support bombed and strafed the enemy positions unmercifully but the enemy still held tenaciously to the forest. Elements of the 2nd Bn fighting in Bliesmengen were faced by direct enemy tank fire and other elements were pinned down all day. The enemy continued to shell the regimental area heavily during the period. Frauenberg was hit very heavily again and again during the day. All units of the 137th Infantry were alerted at 1125 for bomber-support and at noon fighter bombers were hitting the enemy in Bucholz Woods ahead of the regiment's positions. The 737th Tank Bn, less Co C, was attached to the regiment at 1231. The 3rd Bn was relieved by the 1st Bn at 2200. Co "A" took over the patch of woods below the Breiterwald, while Co's "B" and "C" relieved the 3rd Bn elements in the woods proper. The 137th was ordered to resume the attack at 0800, December 18.
18 DECEMBER 1944
The enemy was heavily pounded by P-47s in the regimental sector throughout the day. Breiterwald Woods was again the scene of fierce battles between German and American infantry and tanks. The enemy was unable to stop the assault of our forces and was driven back to the rear edge of the woods. The 2nd Bn of the 134th Infantry, attached to the 137th Infantry, attacked the enemy at the edge of Reinneimerald Woods, on the 137th's right flank, just southeast of Bebelsheim. The regiment was ordered to stop its attack at 1830 and to consolidate its positions on most favorable ground. At the conclusion of the day's operations the 2nd Bn of the 134th was at the edge of Reinneimerald Woods. The 137th's 1st Bn was holding all of the Breiterwald Woods and a small patch of woods near Bannholz. The 2nd Bn had elements in Bliesmengen and east of the town, while the 3rd Bn was held in reserve at Neunkirch.
19 DECEMBER 1944
Frauenberg continued to receive terrific artillery and mortar fire. The enemy fired again and again at the Frauenberg-Habkirchen bridge but never scored a hit. The 1st Bn continued to hold its position on the edge of the Breiterwald woods and repelled numerous German counter-attacks. Roadblocks were established on all entrances to the woods and mine fields layed on all logical mechanized approaches. Several enemy tanks fired on the 1st Bn from a distance of 1,000 yards and were driven off by Yank artillery. The 2nd Bn also improved its positions and placed road blocks and mine fields on its flanks. Fire was delivered on the enemy who was extremely active to the Bn front. The Bn command post was shelled heavily but no casualties resulted. The 3 Bn remained in Neunkirch and continued reorganization of its elements. 3rd Bn also continued training for its 67 new replacements who had not had much previous infantry training.
20 DECEMBER 1944
The 1st Bn was attacked repeatedly during the day and Co "B" had two companies of SS troops infiltrate into its positions and attack another. This attack took place in the neck of the woods. The attack was held off by one squad of "B" Co until one friendly tank was brought up and the combined fire of the infantry and tank drove the enemy from the position. Several enemy tanks made sorties toward the 1st Bn positions, but direct fire from our TDs and artillery fire drove them off. The 2nd Bn remained in position on the high ground near the woods and improved their positions during the day. Co's "F", "E", and "G", in that order, were on the line. The Bn received heavy enemy artillery fire on the ridge during the period. During one two and a half hour period, 1,000 rounds (a boxcar) of artillery and mortar fire fell on the ridge and portion of the woods held by the Bn. The 3rd Bn remained in Neunkirch and continued its reorganization and training for replacements. The Bn was also placed on the alert status as per the counter-attack plans of the regiment. The 737th Tank Bn (-), Co "B" of the 654th TD Bn, and Co "D" 91st Cml Bn remained in support of the 137th Infantry and performed their primary missions during the period.
21 DECEMBER 1944
On December 21, the 137th Infantry received orders that it would be relieved by the 324th Infantry of the 44th Inf Div prior to 2400 that day. The regiment was to assemble temporarily in the vicinity of Frauenberg, Habkirchen, and Neunkirch until ordered to move to an assembly area. In the morning the 1st Bn continued its defense of the regimental sector. With a heavy artillery barrage, the enemy launched a heavy counter-attack on the 1st Bn positions. This attack was repulsed with heavy enemy losses. During the day the enemy artillery and mortar fire was extremely heavy on enemy positions. The 2nd Bn improved its positions and also delivered harassing fire on all known and observed enemy targets. At 1300 the 3rd Bn closed its CP in Neunkirch and moved to its new assembly area in Richeling, where it closed in by 1500. The Regimental CP moved from Neunkirch to Remering, closing shortly after midnight. The Special Units cleared into Ballering at 1500. The 1st Bn's relief by the 324th Infantry (44th Infantry Division) was completed by 2245 and the Bn assembled and prepared to move to the new regimental assembly area. The 2nd Bn was relieved by elements of the 324th Inf by 2200 and the units assembled to move to the new area.
22 DECEMBER 1944
The 2nd Bn arrived at Remering from Neunkirch and was billeted by 0315 in the new assembly area. The 1st Bn cleared into the town of Grundweiler by 0415. During the day an ordnance check was made and all ordnance items and several 50 calibers were tested for anti-aircraft defense. The regiment received more replacements which helped raise the strength of the units. The regiment received eight officers and 220 enlisted men. The 35th Inf Div was ordered to move by combat team to Metz sometime during the day. Later the IP time was set at 2330. The regiment had 78 trucks assigned for the move. 43 trucks were from the 3905th QMTC and 35 from the 445th QMTC. The 137th Infantry Combat Team, less the 219th FA Bn, cleared the IP at Puttelange by 2330 and moved northwest toward Metz and its new assembly area.
23 DECEMBER 1944
The 137th Infantry CT motorized left Puttelange at 2330 on December 22 and moving through St. Avold, Boulet, and Metz, arrived at its destination, Moulins, by 0400. Moulins is just west of Metz. The regiment rested and cleaned and repaired equipment. They also attended movies and washed clothes, uniforms, and etc.
24 DECEMBER 1944
The 137th Infantry Regiment remained assembled in the German barracks in Moulins. At 1140 on December 24 the 35th Infantry Division was assigned to the XX Corps from the XII Corps. The 735th Ordnance Company conducted an inspection of equipment and weapons in the regiment.
25 DECEMBER 1944
The day was spent in rest with small classes held for some of the replacements. 155 more replacements were also received which brought the 137th strength near to the T/O. The 35th Division passed from the XX Corps control to III Corps control. The regiment was notified of the movement by motor which it was to make the following morning to a new area.
26 DECEMBER 1944
On December 26, the 137th Infantry CT with the 127th FA Bn attacked, moved by motor from Metz at 0645 and closed into assembly areas in the vicinity of Nothomb, Belgium, by 1450. Upon its arrival, the regiment moved forward and relieved elements of the 6th Cavalry Squadron in its zone. The regimental motor column entered Belgium via Messency, turned west and bypassed the town of Arlon, passed through Pontellange and on to Nothomb. Regimental Headquarters was established in Nothomb, while the battalions moved on into Luxembourg and the 1st Bn closed into Roodtles Ell, southeast of Holtz. The 3rd Bn billeted itself in Perle and the 2nd Bn in Holtz. Upon arrival the Combat Team ceased and the 127th FA Bn and the 219th FA reverted to Division Artillery control. During the night forward elements of the regiment moved forward and relieved elements of the 6th Cavalry, which were screening in the 137th zone to the north. The 4th Armored Division was on the left of the 35th Division and the 26th Division on the right flank of the division. The 137th Infantry was to attack on the morning of December 27, passing through the 6th Cavalry and with the 4th Armored Division, relieved the pressure on the 101st Airborne Division which was surrounded in Bastogne.
27 DECEMBER 1944
The 137th Infantry jumped off at 0800 on December 27 with the 2nd Bn on the right and the 3rd on the left with the 1st Bn held in reserve at Tintange. The 2nd crossed the Surre River at 1015 and by 1110 the first elements of Co "G" entered the town of Surre. Co "E" was held up by enemy machine gun fire and was unable to enter the town. The 1st Bn left Tintange at 1525, and moved in approach march formation toward Surre. By 1640 the entire Bn was on the road to Surre and the point was receiving machine gun fire from its left flank. Co "A" was at the point and in contact with Co "G" in the town. The 3rd Bn was driving ahead on the left flank under small arms fire and mortar barrages. In the afternoon, the 3rd Bn was hit by a terrific artillery barrage. The regiment was ordered to halt its advance at 1730 and organize defensive positions no later than 2000. The 137th was to resume the attack at 0600 on December 28. The 1st Bn had two companies in Surre by 1815 and was securing the town. Co "E" pushed out into the woods at 2100 and ran into strong enemy dug-in positions. The 1st Bn CP moved into Surre at 2215. The 3rd Bn reported enemy dug-in positions to its front. The enemy force to the front was identified as the 5th German Paratroop Division. Co "D", 5th Cml Bn was attached to the regiment today and Co "B", 654th Tank Destroyer Bn was also assigned in direct support.
28 DECEMBER 1944
The 137th Infantry today attacked north of Surre against all types of heavy enemy fire and drove eastward to assault Villers-la-Bonne-Eau. The 1st Bn was located in Surre and the 2nd Bn with companies "E", and "F", and "G", in that order, on the edge of Surre Woods. The 3rd Bn was pushing northeast toward Livarchamps. At 0620 the companies began to move into the woods and the 3rd Bn hit Livarchamps at 0715 and sent companies "I" and "K" 500 yards past the town. Co "L" had a strong patrol on the road. At 0845 the 3rd Bn was receiving heavy small arms, rocket and artillery fire from Villers-la Bonne-Eau. Two hours later the fire had increased, and the enemy was delivering machine gun fire and direct fire from self-propelled 88s on the 3rd Bn positions. The 2nd Bn, driving into the woods, was in the face of direct tank fire and considerable mortar. Enemy tracked vehicles were located 600 yards to the direct front of Co's "E" and "F". Co "F" was moving up a draw on the right flank in the direction of a reported enemy CP and forty enemy riflemen. The 3rd Bn launched its attack at 1230 with the mission of getting into Villers-la-Bonne-Eau. The 1st Bn moved out of Surre at 1405, with the mission of encircling the 2nd Bn's left flank. One platoon of Anti-tank guns were left in Surre to block all tank approaches to the town. At 1745 the 3rd Bn, after a bitter battle, was in the town of Villers-la Bonne-Eau. The regiment was ordered to suspend the attack at 1800 and consolidate for the night and attack at 0800 the following morning. The Corps Commanding General warned all units to beware of enemy counter-attacks during the night or early morning. The Surre Woods still contained many enemy troops.
29 DECEMBER 1944
The 137th Infantry attacked again in the Surre Woods against bitter machine gun and tank fire. The regiment attacked to the northeast in its zone, bounded by the 134th Infantry on the left and the 320th Infantry on the right. The 2nd Bn attacked through the woods following an air strike and met heavy tank and self-propelled ss fire. The Bn advanced against this fire to the last tip of the Surre Woods. The 1st Bn jumped off at 0810 and ran into heavy fire also. Co "C" and "A" from left to right, led the attacking troops and advanced toward the town of Villers-la-Bonne-Eau. The 2nd Bn had companies "E" and "G" forward with Co "E" in Surre. The 3rd Bn reported that it had two TDs knocked out from direct fire from enemy tanks. By 1550, Co"I" had contacted the 134th Infantry on the left flank of the regiment. The CO of the 3rd Bn also estimated that he had knocked out at least nine heavy machine gun emplacements during the day. The 137th was ordered to cease its attack at 1800 and continue the attack on December 30 at 0800. All roads leading into the area were to be mined and blocked. Road blocks were to be in depth, several on each road. The regiment halted its attack and buttoned up for the night. Enemy artillery fire was very heavy in the regimental area during the night with the Regimental CP area receiving several barrages of rockets.
30 DECEMBER 1944
The 137th patrolled vigorously to the front during the night while the front lines and rear areas received heavy artillery and rocket fire. The snow that had fallen the previous day had frozen over and the ground and roads were slick and slippery. Harlange and Villers-la-Bonne-Eau remained the main points of enemy resistance. The 3rd Bn was operating southwest of Villers and the 1st Bn assembled at Livarchamps with Co "A" manning roadblocks to the east in the gap between the 3rd and 2nd Bns. The 2nd Bn had two companies on the edge of the Surre Woods, meeting heavy enemy fire from the vicinity of Harlange and Betlange. At 0645 Co "E" advanced toward Harlange passing through Co "G". The company advanced with moderate resistance until it reached a position within 400 yards of Harlange when it received severe machine gun and mortar fire which pinned it down. The enemy also opened up on the company delivering flanking fire from the right and left flank. The thrust to the right flank was stopped. Co "E" withdrew from the open field under a protective barrage and moved up a draw on the left flank of the enemy to out flank the enemy position and ran in to tough opposition near Betlange. At 0645 the 3rd Bn held four buildings in Villers-la-Bonne-Eau and by 0900 the enemy activity and resistance in the town increased considerably. Enemy assault guns and SS troops moved into the town in the morning to reinforce the enemy garrison and the armored guns moved in and around the town shooting into the houses occupied by elements of the 3rd Bn. Two of these guns were knocked out by bazooka fire and the rest withdrew out of bazooka range and shelled the houses with direct fire. Heavy fighting continued all during the day in the town until Cos "K" and "L" were considered cut off from the rest of the battalion.
31 DECEMBER 1944
At 0520 Co "I" was counter-attacked by the enemy who had positions in the woods to their front, and at 0615, the 3rd Bn CP lost communications with the company. Contact was regained that same morning. The 1st Bn jumped off at 1330 for the town of Villers-la-Bonne-Eau. Cos "B" and "C" entered the town at 1420 and occupied some of the buildings. Two enemy tanks rolled up to their positions and started shelling them with direct fire. Men from the companies fired bazookas at them but the tanks kept just out of range and although several hit the tanks, they did not knock them out. The elements of the two companies were forced to withdraw back to the cover of the woods. At 1700 the regiment was ordered to dig in for the night and continue operations the following morning. At 1730 Co "C" received a heavy concentration of artillery, was counter-attacked and forced back slightly. This ground was immediately regained and the line reestablished at 1800. The 2nd Bn, less Co "G", pulled back to the town of Surre and moved to north of Livarchamps. Co "E" took over the roadblocks occupied by Co "A", while Co "G" remained in position in the Surre Woods to protect the right flank of the regiment. 235 men were reported as missing from Co "K" and "L". The majority of these men were believed to have been captured in the town of Villers-la-Bonne-Eau, where they had been cut off for two days by enemy tanks and infantry. Total casualties during the month were: 31 killed in action, 286 wounded in action, 274 missing in action. Enemy prisoners captured during the month were 308.
W. S. MURRAY
1. Awards and Presentations
2. Unit Journal 2/supporting papers
Awards for heroism and gallantry in action were announced for the 137th Infantry during 16-31 December as follows:
18 DECEMBER 1944
Second Lieutenant Victor Shultz, Platoon Leader of Company "C", killed in action, was posthumously awarded the Oak Leaf Cluster to the Silver Star. Technical Sergeant Milton Morris of Company "C" who died of wounds, was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. Staff Sergeant Cassimer Loppatto, Company "G", killed in action, was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. First Lieutenant Randall Peavey, Company "E", was awarded the Silver Star. The award was presented at Metz, France, on 25 December. Sergeant Leonard Thomas, Company "M", was awarded the Silver Star. The award was presented at Arlon, Belgium, on 31 December. Technician Grade Four Chris Engel, Medical Detachment, evacuated for wounds, was awarded the Silver Star. Captain Quentin Donnellen, S-3 for the Third Battalion, was awarded the Oak Leaf Cluster to the Bronze Star and the award was presented at Richeling, France, on the 22nd of December. First Lieutenant John Rathbun, Company "B", was awarded the Bronze Star. The award was presented at Grundviller, France, on 22 December. First Lieutenant Frank Sigl, Communications Officer of the Second Battalion, was awarded the Bronze Star and was presented the award at Remering, France, on 22 December. First Lieutenant Robert Tompkins, Company "E", evacuated for wounds, was awarded the Bonze Star. Second Lieutenant Robert Fast, Company "G", was awarded the Bronze Star. The award was presented at Remering, France, on 22 December. Technical Sergeant Donald Wager, Company "G", was awarded the Bonze Star. The award was presented at Remering, France, on 22 December. Technician Grade Five Johnnie Leedy, Medical Detachment, was awarded the Bronze Star. The award was presented at Remering, France, on 22 December. Private First Class Cummings, Company "C", missing in action, was awarded the Bronze Star. Private First Class Donald Cook, Company "D", was awarded the Bronze Star and the award was presented at Grundviller, France, on 22 December. Private First Class Arthur Jones, Company "B", was awarded the Bronze Star. The award we presented at Remering, France, on 22 December. Private First Class George Neagle, Company "D", was awarded the Bronze Star and the award was presented at Gundviller, France, on 22 December. Private First Class Clyde T____ Company "H", evacuated for wounds, was awarded the Bronze Star.
20 DECEMBER 1944
Technical Sergeant Paul Fall, Company "G" wounded in action was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He was the seventh man of the 137th Inf Regiment to be so honored.
22 DECEMBER 1944
First Lieutenant Fredrick Bach, Company "L", evacuated for wounds, was the eighth man of this Regiment to be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
26 DECEMBER 1944
First Lieutenant Joseph McCrone, Company "A", killed in action, was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. Technical Sergeant Floyd Kaechele, Company "C", killed in action, was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. Staff Sergeant Bernard Fellbaum, Company "G", evacuated for wounds, was awarded the Silver Star. Corporal Archie Leeds, Cannon Company, Technician Grade Five William Smith, Company "A", Private First Class Marvin Busse, Company "C", Private Raymond Parker, Company "A", Private Dan Smith, Company "G", all killed in action, were posthumously awarded Silver Stars. Private First Class Barney Summers, Company "L", evacuated for sickness, was awarded the Silver Star. Soldiers Medals were awarded the three men within the Regiment for saving the lives of two comrades who had fallen into a flood swollen stream. Private First Class Peter Cimini, Company "G", killed in action, was posthumously awarded this medal. Private John Arpin, Company "G", evacuated for sickness, was the second member of the trio to be awarded the Soldiers Medal. Private Alfred Hickelheim, also of company "G", was awarded the Soldiers Medal. Private First Class Milton Hambalek, Medical Detachment, was awarded the Oak Leaf Cluster to the Bonze Star. The presentation as made at Tintange, Belgium, on the 28th of December. Captain Jack Hawk, Commanding Officer of Company "H", was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. The presentation was made at Surre, Luxembourg, on the 28th of December. Captain Hubert Stephens, Commanding Officer of Company "K", evacuated for wounds, was awarded the Bronze Star. First Lieutenant James Gilbert, Cannon Company, was awarded the Bronze Star and was presented with the award at Tintange, Belgium, on 28 December. First Lieutenant Ernest Oakes, Anti-Tank Company, was awarded the Bronze Star. The award was presented at Tintange, Belgium, on 28 December. Technical Sergeant Franklin Bellar, Anti-Tank Company, was awarded the Bronze Star. The award was presented at Tintange, Belgium, on the 28th of December. Technical Sergeant Lester Hahn, Company "G", evacuated for wounds, was awarded the Bronze Star. Staff Sergeant Robert Welliver, Company "C", was awarded the Bronze Star. The presentation was made at Surre, Luxembourg, on the 28th of December. Sergeant Norman Bonus, Sergeant Leo Wilhelm, both of Company "D", were awarded Bronze Stars. The awards were presented at Surre, Luxembourg, on 28 December. Technician Grade Five Fredrick Witzigman, Medical Detachment, was awarded the Bronze Star. The award was presented at Tintange, Belgium, on 28 December. Private First Class Demetrio Archuleta, Company "B", was awarded the Bronze Star. The award was presented at Surre, Luxembourg, on 28 December. Private First Class Jack Page, Company "D", was awarded the Bronze Star and the award was presented at Surre, Luxembourg, on the 28th of December.
31 DECEMBER 1944
First Lieutenant Albert Krider Jr, Company "H", was awarded the Oak Leaf Cluster to the Silver Star. Technician Grade Four Hubert Chapman, Third Battalion Headquarters Company, killed in action, was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. First Lieutenant Thomas Travis, Company "K", Staff Sergeant Jerome Gorres, Company "G", Private First Class Paul Knopp, Anti-Tank Company, and Private First Class Paul Ott, Company "F", were all awarded the Silver Star. Technician Grade Five Don Sherwold, Medical Detachment, killed in action, was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star. Second Lieutenant Glen Eagen Jr, Company "L", was awarded the Bronze Star. Technical Sergeant Jack Kelsey, and Private Julian Osborne, of Company "F", were awarded Bronze Stars. Private First Class Ralph Stemmler, Company "G", was awarded the Bronze Star. Private Angelo Podes, Company "H", was awarded the Bronze Star.
In less than six months of combat operation the 137th Infantry had been recognized as one of the better fighting Regiments and 623 of its members had been decorated for outstanding actions. Eight men had received Distinguished Service Crosses, 151 received Silver Stars, 3 were awarded soldiers medals and 461 were awarded the Bronze Star.
DECLASSIFIED PER EXECUTIVE ORDER 12356, SECTION 3.3. 735017
BY NND/BC/RB NARA, DATE 3 JULY 1989.
REPRODUCED AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES