1 – 28 February 1945
Corps Reserve 1 Feb – 6 Feb
Heckhuscheid-Hill 568 Offensive 7 Feb – 11 Feb
Berg-Lutzkampen Defensive 12 Feb – 15 Feb
Leidenborn-Reiff Offensive 16 Feb – 23 Feb
Corps Reserve 24 Feb – 28 Feb
1 February 1945
At the beginning of this period the 11th Armored Division, with 613 officers and 9,642 EM, was in VIII Corps reserve with the mission of remaining in place prepared to exploit any penetration of the enemy defenses which might result from the Corps attack then in progress. Periodic liaison was being maintained with the 4th, 90th, and 87th Infantry Divisions which were making the attack, and the 95th Infantry Division also in Corps reserve. The attack to the east, generally along the high ground west of the Our River, was continuing against resistance varying from light to heavy, depending on the nearness of the Siegfried Line. In no sector was any German tank activity reported. The Division was organized as follows:
CCA HQ & HQ Co CCB HQ & HQ Co
42nd Tk Bn 21st AIB
63rd AIB 41st Tk Bn
A Co 56th Armd Engr Bn 22nd Tk Bn
D Trp 41st Cav Rcn Sq
A Co 81st Med Bn
C Btry 575th AAA Bn
CCR Div Arty
Res Comd HQ Div Arty HQ & HQ Btry
55th AIB 491st AFA
Division Troops Division Trains
Div HQ & HQ Co Div Tns HQ & HQ Co
151st Armd Sig Co 133rd Ord Maint Bn
811th TD Bn 81st Armd Med Bn
41st Cav Rcn Sq (-)
56th Armd Engr Bn (-)
575th AAA Bn (-)
The major units prepared for future operations by making route reconnaissance and periodic contacts with the inf Divs attacking. CP’s of major units were located as follows:
Division Forward Echelon – Isle La Hesse (1 km W of Bastogne)
CCA – Buret
CCB – Bercheux
CCR – Magerotte
Division Artillery – Recogne
Division Trains – Vaux Les Rosieres
The 56th Engineer reconnaissance parties continued checking of roads and bridges behind the advancing divisions of the VIII Corps, and cleared a minefield at Monaville.
Training Memo #1 was issued stressing:
Personal rehabilitation and maintenance of materiel.
Test firing of all new weapons.
Special training for reinforcements.
Preparation and conduct by major units of small unit tank and infantry combat training exercises.
2 February 1945
Division units remained in place and continued training, rehabilitation and maintenance. The day’s activity was highlighted by tank-infantry assault problems in CCA and CCR areas, and a demonstration of advance guard employment technique by CCB. The 56th Engrs continued their mission of checking roads and bridges behind the attacking Inf Divs of VIII Corps.
3 February 1945
The VIII Corps was now focusing its attention on a section of the Siegfried Line in Germany proper, having been ordered to attack east across the Our River by 0400 6 Feb. to penetrate the Siegfried Line and to capture Prum and Pronsfeld. The attack was to be made with divisions abreast - north to south – 87th Inf Div, 4th Inf Div, 90th Inf Div, and 11th Armored Division (less CCA). The 4th Inf Div was to capture Prumand secure a bridgehead across the Prum River. The 90th Inf Div was ordered to capture Pronsfeld, while the 87th Inf Div was ordered to seize a tactically important road junction.
The 11th AD was ordered to relieve elements of the 90th Inf Div in the southern part of its zone not later than 2400 5 Feb, and to attack 0400 6 Feb to seize and hold Hill 568 for the protection of the 90th Inf Div’s south flank. Hill 568 is a dominant terrain feature within the Siegfried Line approximately three km east of Grosskampinberg commanding the area in all directions. During the operation, contact was to be maintained with the 90th on the left and with III Corps on the right flank. The Division was also responsible for the protection of the Corps right (S) flank.
A Letter of Instructions was issued placing a considerable infantry task force at the disposal of CCR, and assigning to it the limited objective attack mission of taking Hill 568. CCR was re-constituted as follows:
Hq Res Comd C Co 56th Armd Engr Bn
21st AIB D Btry 575th AAA Bn
55th AIB B Co 602nd TD Bn
63rd AIB Det 151st Armd Sig Co
B Co 22nd Tk Bn Det 133rd Ord Maint Bn
A & B Trps 41st Cav
B Company of the 81st Med Bn was placed in support of CCR.
CCA was held out as Corps Reserve, while CCB was charged with protecting the static Corps south flank. Div Arty was ordered to establish an advance FDC in the zone of relief, place the 492nd AFA Bn in direct support of CCR, and move the 491st AFA Bn sufficiently far forward to support CCR. In addition, VIII Corps and III Corps Artillery were to be tied in and available on call.
The 811th TD Bn was released from its attachment to the 11th AD at 0800 and the 602nd TD Bn (-C Co) was attached to the Division at the same time.
Meanwhile during the day the Corps attack under its FO #7 continued. The 87th Inf Div encountered light to moderate resistance with the enemy apparently withdrawing toward the Siegfried Line. The town of Roth was capture. The 4th Inf Div continued its advance encountering heavy resistance at Bieialf before seizing the town at 1020. Hatenfeld and Perthachat were seized and occupied against light resistance. The 90th Inf Div reported enemy activity restricted to minor patrol encounters.
4 February 1945
At 0700 CCR moved from Magerotte, assembling its troops enroute along the axis Bastogne-Wicrenge-Trois Vierges, and re-assembled east of Burg Reuland late in the afternoon where the Command Post was established. Through rain and thawing snow the 21st and 63rd AIBs moved up to the line and under cover of darkness relieved elements of the 90th Inf Div along the rim of the high ground east of the Our River. On the south flank elements of the 41st Cavalry anchored their position to the Our River.
At 1500 CCA was alerted for movement to a Corps Reserve assembly area in the vicinity of Schlierbach. Shortly thereafter VIII Corps postponed this and other moves of Division elements from 24 to 48 hours due to assault force road priorities.
5 February 1945
With Div Arty in place, responsibility for the Division zone was assumed from the 90th Inf Div at daybreak.
The enemy line was defined as the western boundary of the Siegfried Line. From a captured map showing pillbox locations in the Siegfried Line our forces had accurate information of the enemy’s dispositions. Outposts were maintained all along key terrain features to hinder our advance prior to reaching the Siegfried Line proper.
At 1200, FO #11, HQ 11th Armd Div, was issued confirming previous verbal orders concerning the attack for 0400 6 Feb, and constituting major forces as follows:
HQ & HQ Co CCA HQ & HQ Co CCB
63rd AIB 22nd Tk Bn (-B Co)
42nd Tk Bn 41st Tk Bn
D Trp 41st Cav B Co 56th Engr Bn
A Co 56th Engr Bn A Btry 575th AAA Bn
C Btry 575th AAA Bn
A Co 81st Med Bn
Det 133rd Ord Maint Bn
CCR Division Artillery
HQ Res Comd HQ & HQ Btry Div Arty
21st AIB 490th AFA
55th AIB 491st AFA
41st Cav (-) 492nd AFA
B Co 22nd Tk Bn D Btry 575th AAA Bn
C Co 56th Engr Bn
B Co 602nd TD Bn
Det 151st Sig Co
B Co 81st Med Bn
Det 133rd Ord Bn
CCA was ordered to move to an assembly area in the vicinity of Cronbach on division order and await further orders in Corps reserve. To make up a balanced combat command, the 63rf AIB was to revert to the control of CCA in place, upon relief by the 55th AIB, and then move to the CCA assembly area on order. CCB was directed to assemble in the vicinity of Weiswampach on order and to protect the right (S) flank of Corps. CCR was given the mission of occupying and defending along its line in the division zone, attacking 0400 6 Feb to capture and hold Hill 568 and contain the enemy in zone; and maintain contact with the 90th Inf Div on the left (N) flank and the III Corps on the right (S) flank. Div Arty was directed to backup the attack of CCR with the 492nd in direct support, the 490th and 491st AFAs in general support; the artillery to be so disposed as to be able to mass fires along the left (N) flank of the division zone through the division objective.
Most of the rainy day was spent in regrouping and preparation for the Corps coordinated attack scheduled for 0400 6 Feb. The 55th AIB relieved the 63rd AIB in place, and elements of the 41st Cav relieved C Co of the 56th Armd Engr Bn on the south flank of the division zone, as infantry weight was concentrated on the north flank opposite the key Hill 568. The 41st Cav was assigned the mission of protecting the southern and central portions of the division zone. Flank contact with the 6th Armored Division of III Corps on the south and the 90th Inf Div on the north was maintained. Div Arty HQ moved to Burg Reuland, arriving at 1200. The division CP moved by infiltration to Wilwerdange opening at 1630.
6 February 1945
CCR launched its attack on Hill 568 at 0400 with the 55th and 21st AIBs abreast, the 21st making the main effort on the left. No artillery preparation was fired. As a result of exceptionally accurate and detailed intelligence of identifications, strength, and disposition of occupied pillboxes, complete surprise of the enemy was accomplished and our forces advanced swiftly through fortified, mined, and booby-trapped areas to seize an occupy the division objective by 0830. This action represented an advance of approximately two miles through the Siegfried Line. Patrols were sent out to the south and southwest and promptly drew fire from enemy small arms and automatic weapons.
Patrols of the 41st Cav advanced to the towns of Berg, Grosskampenberg, and Lutzkampen during the morning. Heavy enemy artillery and mortar concentrations on Grosskampenberg and Lutzkampen caused our forces to withdraw from those towns. Observation posts were established on the wooded heights one km NW of Lutzkampen. Possession of Berg was retained.
CCA moved to its new assembly area and established its command post at Cronbach about 1915.
In accordance with verbal instructions from VIII Corps, Operations Memo #23 was issued by HQ 11th Armored Division at 1600 directing a continuance of the Siegfried Line penetration action and defeat of the enemy in the Division Zone. CCR was ordered to attack 7 Feb to capture in succession Eschfeld, Binscheid, and Lichtenborn. CCB was ordered to move to an assembly area near Weiswampach. The 56th Engr Bn was ordered to move to Beiler from Isle Le Pres.
CCR held its position under heavy nebelwerfer, artillery, and mortar fire. C Co 56th Engrs cleared roads of mines n rear of the infantry elements. On the left flank, elements of the 90th Inf Div were unable to gain any ground. After nightfall, enemy infiltration around both open flanks caused considerable disturbance.
7 February 1945
Due to stiff resistance, the 90th Inf Div’s early morning attack failed to progress to a position offering protection to CCR’s north flank. For this reason, CCR delayed its scheduled attack and dug in further to improve its position. The 55th AIB and 21st AIB received artillery fire during the night and repulsed an enemy counterattack of company strength on the left flank at 0430. Frontal and flanking small arms, mortar, an machine gun fire were place on our positions during the morning. Tanks and tank destroyers were moved forward to strengthen the Hill 568 strong point and infantry pulled back to a more secure reverse slope position. At mid-day propaganda leaflets were fired on enemy positions and a psychological address was broadcast over a public address system, inaugurating a psychological warfare campaign, which during the next several days urged the surrender of German soldiers hopelessly left to defend isolated pillboxes.
Division Artillery continued to support CCR, massing fires on targets of opportunity and firing harassing and interdiction missions. Artillery fire was a deciding factor in repulsing the 0430 enemy counterattack on the north flank of CCR. Some counter-battery fire was placed on he enemy position firing on CCR infantry with good results.
41st Cavalry elements continued to hold commanding terrain at the western outskirts of Lutzkampen and Grosskampenberg. Considerable enemy fire fell in the villages. CCA released D Troop 41st Cav to Squadron control at 0700. The troop, needed for rotation of units in the line, moved to Stupbach, closing at 1500. Lutzkampen was re-entered and occupied at 1815 and our forces took 20 enlisted and 10 officers prisoners of war. Elements of the 41st Cav remained on the western side of Grosskampenberg, organizing the advantageous terrain.
The 56th Armd Engr Bn (-) reached its new assembly area near Beiler at 0945. the 381st QM Trk Co moved by infiltration during the day to Drinkange and elements of A Co 133rd Ord Maint Bn moved to Asselborn, also by infiltration. CCB, in a well coordinated march, moved from Bercheux to the vicinity of Weiswampach along the axis Bercheux-Bastogne-Trois Viergies-Weiswampach, closing at 1210. D Co 41st Tk Bn moved to Leithum, prepared to support CCR from the west side of the Our River in the southern half of its zone. Two Sections of B Btry 575th AAA Bn reached Hulfange at 1645 to afford protection for the airstrip.
Melting snow and rain was rapidly transforming all roads in the division area into great morasses of mud as the over-soaked thin foundations started giving way under continual concentrated use by large numbers of heavy tracked combat vehicles.
Verbal instructions for continuance of the attack early 8 Feb were received from VIII Corps at 1600. Shortly thereafter CCR was so directed, being also cautioned o coordinate their action with the 90th Inf Div.
8 February 1945
Fighting through a heavily fortified and hotly defended valley, the 90th Inf Div attack still did not bring their line forward abreast of the CCR Hill 568 position. Accordingly, CCR restricted its action to limited dismounted patrol activity. Moderate small arms, mortar, and artillery fire fell on forward positions throughout the period. Using a combination of the public address system and leaflets fired by Div Arty, psychological offensive action was renewed at 1550 with good results. C Co 56th Engr Bn continued road clearance and repair, working against a steadily deteriorating situation. Several vehicles and an angle dozer were lost during the day to enemy mines.
From well-established observation points artillery fire was directed between showers on enemy infantry patrols, known strong points, and a small concentration of enemy armor in the vicinity of Kesfeld.
The 41st Cavalry moved its command post to a concrete pillbox about mid-morning. D Troop, supported by F Troop, relieved A Troop in Lutzkampen. Military Government detachments made their first contacts with the German civilian population as Lutzkampen came into firm possession. C Troop continued patrolling on the south flank in the vicinity of Sevenig.
CCB established and maintained contact with elements of the 6th Armored Division west of the Our River on the south flank. One section of A Btry 575th AA Bn, posted along the Weiswampach-Peterskirche road, received approximately twenty rounds of enemy artillery fire at 1400.
At 1445 instructions were received from VIII Corps to continue the attack 9 February. Infantry elements in forward positions were beginning to show the results of long exposure, and accordingly orders were issued returning the 63rd AIB to CCR for rotation of infantry units. For direct fire reduction of pillboxes, C Btry, 174th FA Bn was attached in place at 2130.
Late in the day reports from the 90th Inf Div indicated that reduction of two or three pillboxes would have to be accomplished before lateral contact with the Hill 568 position could be established. CCR was directed to coordinate with the 90th Inf Div on the renewal of directed offensive action the following day.
9 February 1945
CCA released the 63rd AIB to the control of CCR at 0001. Reconnaissance for routes and areas for possible future operations continued. Vehicular maintenance, installation of track extensions, and removal of camouflage whitewash from all vehicles was accomplished during the day. CCB continued to maintain contact with the 6th Armored Division on the south and bolstered the south flank with additional troops on the west side of the Our River.
Limited patrol activity was continued by CCR, still waiting for the 90th Inf Div elements to seal off one of its two exposed flanks. Another psychological warfare attack was launched at 1330, employing both artillery leaflets and a public address system. Moderate enemy artillery fire was received throughout the day, increasing to heavy concentrations while the psychological warfare broadcast took place. The 63rd AIB reached its concentration area at 1315 and completed relief of the 21st AIB in place at 1715. the 21st AIB moved to a reserve position at Heckhalenfeld. At 1655 contact was finally established with the 90th Inf Div, as their forces came abreast.
Div Arty continued its support of CCR, firing leaflet, harassing, and interdiction missions as well on numerous targets of opportunity. C Btry 174th FA Bn was moved into position.
At 2220 an anticipatory FO from VIII Corps was received. The temporary assumption of a defensive attitude by the Corps after the capture of Prum and seizure of the Prum River line was specified. With a general shift of sectors to the south the 11th AD was to be relieved by the 90th Inf Div and assembled in Corps reserve, prepared to repel any enemy counterattack in the Corps zone.
10 February 1945
CCR resumed the ground attack at 0900. C Co of the refreshed 63rd AIB reduced ten additional fortified places, five pillboxes, and five bunkers to the south and southeast of Hill 568. After capture, the bunkers and pillboxes were dynamited and rendered useless. 15 PWs were captured. In coordination with CCR’s attack, Div Arty fired 64 missions for a total of 852 rounds on targets of opportunity, harassment and interdiction. Fifty additional rounds containing surrender leaflets were fired on isolated pillboxes during the morning hours.
The thawing and rainy weather continued. Road conditions throughout the entire VIII Corps zone reached such a critical stage that orders were issued to all units limiting movement to absolutely essential tactical and administrative vehicles. To help alleviate the road situation, the 56th Engrs, plus additional troops from major and attaché units, were put to work on 24-hour road repair details.
The capture of Prum and seizure of the Prum River line having been accomplished by other elements of the Corps during the day, at 1800 11th Armored Division FO #12 was issued to comply with VIII Corps FO #9 received the previous evening. Due to the road situation minimum movement of CCR elements only was directed.
days fighting in the Siegfried Line resulted in the losses and accomplishments
comparatively tabulated below:
Our Own Enemy
KIA 17 Killed & Wounded 100
WIA 190 Prisoners 287
Missing 1 TOTAL 387
Vehicles and Weapons
Our Own Enemy
Halftracks 1 Tanks 5
Dozer 1 GP Vehicles 1
GP Vehicles 3 AT Gun 1
TOTAL 5 TOTAL 7
Pillboxes & Bunkers Cleared
21st AIB 16
55th AIB 11
63rd AIB 10
11 February 1945
In conformance with the ordered adjustment in sectors, CCR was contacted by elements of the 90th Inf Div during the day and relief arrangements made. B Co 56th Bn moved back west of the Our River around mid-day. At 1700 the 21st AIB commenced its move to the CCB assembly area at Weiswampach, closing at 2130.
TIME 2015, VIII Corps modified orders were received as FO #10. The 11th Armored Division (less the 41st Cavalry Recon Squadron was assigned a new zone for defense, involving a shift to the south and the relief of certain elements of the 6th Armored Division without delay. Contact was to be maintained with 90th Inf Div on our left (NE) flank, and the Division was to be prepared to resume the offensive on short notice.
Confirming verbal fragmentary orders, Operations Memorandum #25 was issued at 2210, directing reconstitution of the major commands as follows:
Hq & HQ Co CCA Hq & HQ Co CCB
42nd Tk Bn 22nd Tk Bn
A Co 56th Engr Bn 41st Tk Bn
C Btry 575th AAA Bn 21st AIB
A Co 81st Armd Med Bn B Co 56th Engr Bn
Det 133rd Ord Main Bn A Btry 575th AAA Bn
Det 133rd Ord Maint Bn
CCR Division Artillery
HQ Res Comd Hq & HQ Btry Div Arty
55th AIB 490th AFA
63rd AIB 491st AFA
C Co 56th Engr Bn 492nd AFA
B Co 22nd Tk Bn C Btry 174th FA Bn
B Co 602nd TD Bn D Btry 575th AAA Bn
B Co 81st Med Bn
Still shifting to the south, CCB was directed to occupy and defend the southern portion of the new zone, and CCR, upon relief in its then position by the 90th Inf Div, to occupy and defend the zone then held by the 41st Cav. Div Arty was directed to support CCB and CCR in defense of the zone. 41st Cavalry, upon relief by CCR, was to pass to operational control of the 6th Armored Divison.
12 February 1945
Relief of CCR’s Armored Infantry Battalions by elements of the 90th Inf div was completed at 0130. The 63rd AIB in turn completed the relief of the 41st Cav by 0645. The 41st Cav initiated its move south to the 6th Armored Division sector at 0800, clearing the division sector at about 1045.
The 490th AFA moved to positions near Breidfeld and assumed the direct support mission for CCB. Division Artillery fire missions were concentrated during the front line relief period.
CCB initiated reconnaissance for relief of elements of the 6th Armored Division in its extended zone to the south. The 21st AIB completed relief of the 6th Armored Division at 2300. The 56th Engr Bn reinforced by the 381st QM Trk Co and an additional divisional work detail of 225 men, was fully employed on axial road repair in the division area. A Company cleared 400 mines from a field NW of Krumbach.
Operations Memo #26 was issued at 1930 directing a boundary adjustment between CCB and CCR in order to eliminate the defensive complications incident to the occupation of precipitous ground along the Our River. Both CCB and CCR were directed to maintain scheduled patrol contact with each other at an established limiting point.
13 February 1945
Committed Division elements completed and improved defensive installations and maintained contact with the 90th Inf Div and 6th Armd Div during this quiet day. Patrols to the west bank of the Our River in the CCB sector met no resistance. Light sporadic nebelwerfer, mortar, and artillery fire fell on CCR positions during he day. DDA continues training of reinforcements, maintenance, and work on roads in its vicinity. Div Arty fired 36 missions, expending 366 rounds, including twenty rounds of surrender leaflets. The 56th Engr Bn continued to direct and supervise major road repairs and maintenance.
14 February 1945
Platoon strength counterattacks were made against CCR without loss on this rainy day. CCB engaged in patrol activity only, maintaining contact with the 6h AD on the south. Div Arty completed the first half of the month with its 695th mission. The 56th Engr Bn continued its strenuous battle to repair and maintain roads.
15 February 1945
The Division continued its defensive mission. Very little enemy activity was noted. At 1200 FO #11 was issued by VIII Corps directing an attack to the SE at H-hour 18 Feb to clear enemy in the zone west of the Prum River and effect a junction with the XII Corps in the vicinity of Mauel. At this time, VIII Corps was operating as the northernmost Corps in the Third Army with V Corps of the First Army on the north flank and XII Corps on the south flank. From S to N VIII Corps troops were disposed as follows: 6th Cav Gp, 6th Armd Div, 11th Armd Div, 90th Inf Div, 4th Inf Div, 87th Inf Div. Field Order #11 directed the 11th Armored Divison (- 41st Cav) to attack at H-hour 18 Feb to capture Leidenborn and Reiff; to clear enemy in its zone; to maintain contact with the 90th Inf Div on the left; and to be prepared to assist the advance of the 6th AD. The Corps action ordered for 18 Feb was to be a limited objective attack to the SE employing initially only the 90th Inf Div and the 11th Armd Div in the center. The 6th Cav Gp and 6th Armd Div on the south were directed to attack east on Corps order and the 4th and 87th Inf Divisions were directed to maintain their defense on the north flank. Division plans for the attack were initiated without delay.
During the afternoon plans were made by CCR for rotating the 63rd AIB and 55th AIB, and the shift initiated after dark. Sporadic mortar and artillery fire continued to fall on the infantry positions.
16 February 1945
The 55th AIB completed its relief of the 63rd AIB soon after midnight. Patrols of CCR seized and destroyed three annoying pillboxes during the day. The entire 56th Engr Bn, plus 250 men from CCA and CCB, utilizing forty trucks from the attached QM Truck Company, repaired, improved, and maintained roads in the division sector. Main axial roads were beginning to show signs of recovery with constant attention. Taking advantage of the partial penetration of the Siegfried Line along the north flank of its projected zone, the plan for the attack envisaged a series of daily leapfrog infantry battalion limited objective attacks on a narrow front to cut through the remaining fortifications of the Siegfried Line by flanking action from the north. With CCR through the fortified area it was then contemplated that CCB would in turn move through the CCR zone and then attack from the north flank, approaching concrete fortifications from deep in the left flank and rear.
FO #13 was issued at 1200 formalizing such an attack at H-hour 18 Feb with maximum effort on the left (E) flank to capture Leidenborn and Reiff, and clear the enemy in the Division zone.
Once again CCR was built up with heavy infantry and supporting armored elements as the Division was reconstituted as follows:
HQ & HQ Co CCA HQ & HQ Co CCB
42nd Tk Bn 22nd Tk Bn (-B Co)
A Co 56th Engr Bn 41st Tk Bn
C Btry 575th AAA Bn 21st AIB
A Co 81st Med Bn B Co 56th Engr Bn
Det 133rd Ord Maint Bn A Btry 575th AAA Bn
Det 133rd Ord Maint Bn
CCR Division Artillery
HQ Res Comd Hq & Hq Btry Div Arty
55th AIB 490th AFA
63rd AIB 491st AFA
C Co 56th Armd Engr Bn 492nd AFA
B Co 22nd Tk Bn C Btry 174th FA Bn
A Co 602nd TD Bn D Btry 575th AAA Bn
B Co 81st Med Bn
Division Troops Division Trains
Fwd Echelon Div Hq Hq & Hq Co Div Tns
Hq Co 11th Armd Div Rear Echelon Div Hq
151st Armd Sig Co 81st Med Bn (-)
B Btry 575th AAA Bn 133rd Ord Bn (-Det)
575th AAA Bn (-) 1 Plat B Btry 575th AAA
56th Armd Engr Bn (-) 381st QM Trk Co
602nd TD Bn (-) 659th QM Trk Co
CCR, in close coordination with the 90th Inf Div, was directed to attack at H-hour 18 Feb to successively capture Leidenborn, Hill 545, and Reiff; clearing all enemy in its zone. Div Arty was directed to support the attack, organized for combat as follows: 491st and 492nd AFAs in direct support of CCR; 490th AFA to be available to CCB for direct support on call; 949th FA Bn of Corps 333rd FA Group to reinforce fires; and the 257th FA Bn to be available on for emergency missions. Priority of fires went to CCR. Mass fires were directed for the narrow front along the boundary between the 11th AD and the 90th Inf Div. CCA was directed to remain in its assembly position and await orders. CCB was directed to assist the attack of CCR by fire initially and to maintain contact with the 6th Armored Division on the south flank and CCR on the east flank. Also directed were preparations to assist the advance of the 6th AAD; the occupation of Harspelt, Sevenig, and Roscheid; and a mop up in its zone on order. The 56th Engr Bn was directed to continue road repair and maintenance on axial routes in the division area and to be prepared to install a bridge across the Our River at Peterskirche for CCB. A Company 56th Engr Bn was to be available to the Division Engineer on call for road repair and maintenance.
Opposing the Division, the following enemy units had been identified: 167th Inf Div; 339th Inf Regt; 340th Inf Div; 695th, 696th, and 694th Inf Regts; artillery of the 79th Inf Div; a total strength of 1,800 men but with apparently no tanks. A general lull on the division front was utilized by the enemy to send out small patrols, fire light to medium artillery of harassing nature, and to conduct small scale position improvements. Prisoner interrogation reports indicated the enemy had been engaged in a constant reshuffling of troops. Desertions were frequent and the morale of the German was very low due to a noticeable lack of food, medical supplies, heavy weapons, and transportation facilities. Since February 6 the Division had captured 291 PW’s, a large number of whom had surrendered or deserted at their first opportunity.
17 February 1945
The sector defense continued simultaneously with preparations for the attack, which was directed for 0400 18 Feb. CCR and CCB maintained their positions and contact with the 90th Inf Div on the north and the 6th AD on the south. CCB infantry elements crossed the Our River at Peterskirche and proceeded one km south of Lutzkampen to Hill 512 with no enemy contact. Div Arty destroyed three concrete bunkers and one permanent roadblock with a 155 gun at close range. Two tank were also knocked out.
The 56th Engr Bn was still busily engaged in the constant rebuilding and maintenance of the critically damaged road net. 200 men from CCA and 240 men from CCB were assigned to road repair and maintenance work under supervision of the Corps Engineer. Weather during this period was clear and cool, with fog in the morning hours.
18 February 1945
Launching its narrow front sneak attack at 0545, with the 63rd AIB in the lead, CCR caught the enemy in the midst of a shift of troop dispositions. The vigorous infantry-tank assault, without the warning of an artillery preparation, resulted in complete surprise and confusion of the enemy, according to PW reports.
Elements of the 987th Grenadier Regiment, 267th VG Division were quickly identified as prisoners began to pour in. Supported by a base of fire at Lutzkampen, the 63rd AIB recaptured Grosskampenberg at 0805. C Company 56th Engineers blasted two paths through the dragon’s teeth and a minefield in rear thereof by 0915. Supported by tanks and artillery fire, the 63rd AIB cleaned out fortifications to advantageous positions. Maintaining the impetus of the attack, the 55th AIB, supported by engineers and tanks, passed through to take the first objective, Leidenborn, by 1700. After dark engineers went forward to construct a bridge in preparation for renewal of the attack.
Small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire were encountered during the day. A total of 72 PWs were captured. Assault troops found, in many instances, scattered mines and unoccupied trenches around the pillboxes. Most pillboxes were defended by three to four men. Some pillboxes were vigorously defended whereas others were abandoned after our troops fired on them.
CCB Engineers completed construction of a Bailey bridge at Peterskirche by 1100. Div Arty fired 90 missions in support of the attack, expending 1,724 rounds. Intermittent firing of surrender leaflets on defended towns continued. At 1730, VIII Corps directed the 11th AD to continue the attack on 19 Feb, in coordination with the 90th Inf Div.
19 February 1945
The enemy reacted to CCR’s previous day attack with a company strength counterattack at 0930. C Company 55th AIB met and repulsed the counterattack made by elements of the 986th VG Regt of the 276th VG Div armed with rifles and automatic weapons, and supported by moderate artillery fire. After a “Time on Target” artillery preparation, two companies of the 55th AIB jumped off at 1330 to seize Herzfeld. The attack was delayed at the edge of the town by extremely heavy mortar and artillery fire but was driven home and the town secured by 1500. A clearing operation in the general area followed to net a total of 23 pillboxes destroyed or neutralized and 63 PWs captured for the day. The 63rd AIB cleared the Leidenborn area, improved its positions, and prepared to continue the attack on Reiff the following morning.
A CCB combat patrol of platoon strength reported no enemy contact in the vicinity of Sevenig at 1015.
As reconnaissance in the southern zone was stepped up in preparation for the second phase of the attack, Div Arty continued to support the advance of CCR, firing 75 harassment and interdiction, target of opportunity, preparation, time on target, counterbattery, and registration missions; expending 1,244 rounds. Air observation planes flew 14 missions. 491st AFA fired 26 rounds of surrender leaflets on Herzfeld at 1600. The 490th AFA, using a captured 88mm gun, knocked out an enemy vehicle by direct fire.
The 56th Engineers continued maintenance and repair of roads. 100 teller mines were cleared from the road. The road from Weiswampach to the bridge at Peterskirche was cleared of mines.
20 February 1945
Completing a narrow penetration of the main Siegfried Line fortifications, CCR launched its attack toward Reiff at 0700 with the 63rd AIB now in the lead, advancing rapidly against a progressively disorganized enemy. The town of Sengerich was seized at 0830. Heavy mortar and artillery fire was dropped in the town shortly thereafter by the retreating enemy. The 63rd AIB cleared and consolidated all dominating terrain around Sengerich during the remainder of the day. The 55th AIB remained in defensive positions around Herzfeld and prepared for the attack on Roscheid scheduled for the following day. In this brief but vigorous and determined action, ten pillboxes were seized and destroyed and 52 PW’s captured.
CCB continued its probing patrol activity and maintained contact with adjacent elements.
Division Artillery fired a preparation for the early morning attack and during the course of the day’s close support destroyed an enemy tank. Hostile mortar and artillery fire was continually minimized by quick action counter-battery missions.
A plan for the following day’s action was submitted by CCR at 1825, coordinated with adjacent and supporting action, and approved at 1950 along with orders for a renewal of the attack.
21 February 1945
CCR’s mission on this date was a limited objective attack to seize Roscheid and to clear pillboxes NE and NW of Roscheid to the Sevenig-Roscheid road, widening the rupture of the main Siegfried Line. Supported by B Company 22nd Tk Bn and C Company 56th Engr Bn, CCR’s 55th AIB launched its attack at 0700. By 0936 the assigned mission was accomplished. The 63rd AIB remained in positions captured the previous day and prepared fo the final assault on Reiff scheduled for the 22nd of February. One platoon of D Btry 575th AAA Bn was attached to CCR for guarding troublesome civilians at Lutzkampen.
A patrol dispatched from Sevenig by CCB at 1145 to gain contact wit the 6th Armd Div on the south flank ran into occupied pillboxes enroute and was unable to complete its mission.
Division Artillery fired on a German troop concentration in Reiff and obtained during this period four direct hits on enemy tanks. A total of 81 missions were fired, expending 1,723 rounds.
The 41st Cavalry was released from 6th Armd Div control at 1200 and moved back north to an assembly area in the vicinity of Lascheid at 1800.
Meanwhile the 90th Inf Div, with a toe-hold in the Siegfried Line provided by the Division’s action earlier in the month, was making steady progress on the north flank. At about 1600 on this date Binscheid was captured and lateral contact was being maintained. On the south flank, in conformance with the general Corps plan, the 6th AD initiated offensive action eastward across the Our River.
At 1055 orders were received from VIII Corps for resumption of a coordinated attack 22 February.. The general Corps plan contemplated an accelerated drive to the south by the 11th AD and the 90th Inf Div, who were then through the main defenses of the Siegfried Line, to assist in the frontal assault being made by the 6th AD on the south flank. Fragmentary verbal orders were accordingly transmitted to the major units concerned without delay.
The attack plans of CCR, CCB, and Division Artillery were submitted, coordinated, and Operations Memorandum #27 issued at 2000 for completion of the Division mission the following day. The general plan contemplated a continuance of the infantry action on the east flank by CCR, while permanent fortifications in the Siegfried Line to the west were masked by smoke. CCB was then to move infantry and tanks through the CCR zone via Lutzkampen and Herzfeld, thereafter swinging SW and clearing their zone in the Siegfried Line by an attack from the left rear.
CCR was directed to seize and occupy Eschfeld and Reiff successively, in close coordination with the 90th Inf Div. CCB was directed to clear bunkers and pillboxes in its zone after capture of Eschfeld by CCR. The normal support mission was allocated to Dev Arty with specific provisions for coordination of fires with the 6th AD and the 90th Inf Div in the vicinity of the Division boundary pinch-out point.
22 February 1945
To set the stage for the CCB attack CCR’s 55th AIB, supported by tanks and engineers, jumped off at 0730 from positions east of Roscheid to seize and secure Eschfeld. By 1000 the town itself was taken and by 1045 surrounding critical terrain was securely within our hands. This action involved clearing ten bunkers and netted a total of 74 PWs.
At 0815, following a heavy artillery preparation, and with its west flank masked by smoke, the 63rd AIB launched a surprising mounted infantry and tank attack on the town of Reiff. An hour later remnants of the 988th VG Regt of the 276th VG Div and the 694th VG Regt of the 340th VG Div had been completely overwhelmed and the town was securely in our hands. The rapidity of the attack netted a battalion commander and staff along with an additional 187 PWS. One American M-4 tank being used by the Germans was recaptured. Immediately thereafter dismounted infantry was sent to the south and east to clear the remainder of the division zone and occupy advantageous high ground south of the town of Reiff. A counterattack of two platoon strength at 1630 was repulsed without loss.
Passing through Eschfeld, following its capture by CCR, the first of two task forces of CCB attacked SW with tanks and infantry through the Siegfried Line fortifications, clearing bunkers and pillboxes systematically until the southern division boundary was reached. By 1320 contact was established with the 6th AD by the second task force, driving directly south along the high ground east of the Our River from Sevenig.
Division Artillery fired heavy concentrations on towns in the division zone during the day’s action, expending a total of 2,662 rounds. Air observation planes were used to good effect to drop surrender leaflets on towns just before they were entered by our attacking ground elements, materially reducing the time consuming mop-up process.
The attack of 22 February ended the Division’s offensive action in the Siegfried Line. In one partial and one complete breaching of this vaunted fortified zone the combined arms of the Division, supporting principally dismounted infantry action, had accomplished the following significant results:
Thirty square kilometers of the main Siegfried Line fortified zone were reduced, as the Division made advances totaling twelve km on an average 2.5 km front.
A total of 197 pillboxes and bunkers were seized and cleared.
A total of 716 prisoners of war were captured.
23 February 1945
Consolidation of positions along the Division boundaries and extensive patrol activity was the principal operational activity during this period. Contact was maintained with adjacent units, the 90th Inf Div on the east and the 6th AD on the south. There was no enemy activity, but nine prisoners gave themselves up to our troops. B Company 22nd Tank Battalion, after 18 days of continuous action, was detached from CCR and replaced by A Company 22nd Tk Bn. A Company 602nd TD Bn was released from CCR to join the 90th Inf Div. C Btry 174th FA Bn was released from attachment at 1500.
Based on verbal orders from VIII Corps, CCA was alerted for movement east to the vicinity of Hermespand to back up the 8th Inf Div, and warning orders were accordingly issued. At 1847, Operations Memorandum #25 was received from VIII Corps directing the 11th AD to assemble in its then location and await orders.
24 February 1945
Patrol activity and maintenance of outposts in the vicinity of Reiff and Eschfeld were continued penking a solid juncture of the 90;the Inf Div and the 6th AD. Reconnaisssance for assembly areas was initiated and CCA established liaison with the 87th Inf Div. At 1300 CCA was attached to the 8th Inf Div for a defensive role or repelling counterattacks on the Corps north flank. CCA was balanced up as follows:
42nd Tk Bn A Co 56th Engr Bn
63rd AIB A Co 705th TD Bn
490th AFA C Btry 575th AAA Bn
41st Cav (-B Trp) A Co 81st Med Bn
All men on engineer details repairing and maintaining roads rejoined their parent units at 1700, as improving weather and backbreaking work healed the road communication problem.
FO #12, HQ VIII Corps, was received at 1300, directing an attack at H-hour 27 Feb to capture Hallschlag and Ormont and to seize the high ground south of Cronenburg as the Corps turned its attention directly east toward the Kyll River. The 11th AD (less CCA) was placed in Corps Reserve, prepared to resume offensive operations on short notice, to capture the high ground north of Ober Bettingen, or to exploit a breakthrough.
Confirming fragmentary orders then in the process of execution, FO #14 was issued at 2100. Troops of the Division, other than those attached to CCA previously, were distributed as follows:
CCB Division Artillery
HQ & HQ Co CCB Hq & HQ Btry Div Arty
41st Tk Bn 491st AFA
22nd Tk Bn 492nd AFA
21st AIB D Btry 575th AAA Bn
B Trp 41st Cav
B Co 56th Armd Engr Bn
B Co 81st Armd Med Bn
CCR Division Troops
Hq Res Comd Fwd Ech Div HQ
55th AIB Div HQ Co
151st Armd Sig Co
B Btry 575th AAA Bn
56th Armd Engr Bn (-)
575th AAA Bn (-)
705th TD Bn (-)
Hq & Hq Co Div Tns
Rear Ech Div Hq
81st Med Bn (-)
133rd Ord Maint Bn (-)
1 Plat B Btry 575th AAA Bn
381st QM Trk Co
659th QM Trk Co
The order directed CCR to assemble in the area Lascheid-Bracht-Haspelt-Gruflange by 1300 24 Feb, and to release certain platoon and company sized elements to other units:1 Plat B Co 56th Engr and C Co 56th Engr to parent unit; 1 Plat D Btry 575th AAA Bn to Div Arty; and A Co 22nd Tk Bn to CCB. Div Arty was placed in general support of Corps and directed to reconnoiter for and move to position areas in the vicinity of Habscheid, as directed by the Corps Artillery Commander.
25 February 1945
General regrouping of Division elements and movement to assembly areas in Corps reserve marked his period.
CCA initiated movement to the 87th Inf Div area, closing in the Losheim Pass area near Namderfeld at 1550. B Btry 174th FA Bn and the 161st Smoke Generating Co were attached to CCA. Under cover of darkness that night the 63rd AIB and 41st Cav (-) relieved elements of the 87th Inf Div as that division concentrated on its south flank for an attack to the east.
CCR moved to its new assembly area, its command post opening at Lascheid, Belgium at 1530. CCR released A CO 22nd Tk Bn, B Co 81st Med Bn, and C Co 56th Engr Bn to parent units with movement beginning at 1300. HQ Division Artillery, and 491st and 492nd AFAs moved to Habscheid.
26 February 1945
Maintenance and rehabilitation were emphasized throughout the division. CCB test fired new weapons and directed the conduct of combat drills on the proper engagement of Tiger tanks. Div Arty supported the Corps offensive operation, expending 426 rounds on normal reinforcing missions. 56th Armd Engr Bn parties initiated route and bridge reconnaissance north and northeast of Bieialf in anticipation of possible movement to that area.
CCA, under operational control of the 87th Inf Div, completed relief of the 347th Inf Regt in the line at 1200. Two companies of the 42nd Tk Bn and B Btry 174th FA Bn were attached to the 490th AFA Bn to increase the volume of fire support along the Corps north flank, while the 87th Inf Div pushed eastward to the south of the Losheim Pass.
27 February 1945
Division Artillery continued reinforcing missions for Corps Arty. Engineer reconnaissance parties expanded route and bridge reconnaissance to the N and NE of Bieialf.
CCA, under the 87th Inf Div, continued enemy contact patrolling activities, and fire support of the infantry attack. At 1100 the 161st Smoke Generating Co was released from attachment. Plans were made covering the contingency that CCA’s task might be changed to an attack on enemy positions to the east with the mission of capturing the Losheim Pass entrance town of Scheid.
28 February 1945
Combat drills, test firing of weapons, maintenance, and rehabilitation were continued by the Division throughout the day.
Verbal orders were received from BIII Corps directing the Division to attack through the 4th Inf Div early March3, push rapidly to the east to capture the high ground north of Gerolstein and seize crossing over the Kyll River between Ober Bettingen and Gelstein. The 4th Inf Div was directed verbally to continue the attack until 2 March and upon being passed through by the 11th AD on 3 march to continue in zone and clean up enemy bypassed by the armor. The 87th Inf Div, 6th AD, and 6th Cav Grp also were to continue the pressure on a broad front.
At the close of this monthly period, Operations Memorandum #30 was issued regrouping the major units, and outlining instructions for the attack on 3 March which will be elaborated on in the succeeding month’s report.
The 167th Volksgrenadier Division was defending the sector where the 11th AD made its attack 6 February, and during that action, which lasted until 11 February, a total of 261 Pws were taken from the 331st and 339th Regts of that division.
South of the 167th, the 340th Volksgrenadier Division was defending the sector to which the 11th AD moved as a result of the boundary shift to the south of 111 February. The enemy, believing that VIII Corps would remain on the defensive for some time as a result of the main Allied effort impending in the north, started a switch of units. Fortress Battalions, Alarm Companies, Fusilier Companies, Construction companies, and some nebelwerfer units were used as a holding force while the 340th VG Division stared a movement north to the Prum area. The e276th VG Division had already assembled near Lichtenborn, and on 17 February was in the process of relieving the 340th VG Div on the 11th AD front to reinforce these miscellaneous units.
In the early morning darkness of 18 February our attack completely surprised the 97th VG Regt which had only arrived a few hours previously, and destroyed its combat effectiveness except for a few remnants which managed to get back and join the 988th Regt which had not yet come into the line. General Tollsdorf of the 340th VG Div, in an effort to forestall complete destruction of the 276th VG Division, ordered the 694th VG Regt of his division back from the vicinity of Prum to bolster the sagging defense as piecemeal recommitment of his forces was initiated. On the 19th and 20th the 986th VG Regt of the 276th VG Div was committed with same disastrous results. By the 22nd of February, when the 11th AD accomplished its mission by capturing Reiff, the 694th Regt of General Tollsdorf’s 340th VG Div had returned to the scene, and was thrown in with the remaining 988th VG Regt of the 276th VG Div to stop the division thrust. Their lack of success is evidenced by the speed with which the division objective was taken and the capture of 202 prisoners on that day.
In spite of grueling weather, crippled communications, and limited personnel for such type close-in deliberate ground action, the combined arms and indomitable will to win of the 11th AD had produced a significant contribution to the VIII Corps action in the Siegfried Line, during the month of February. The price in trained personnel fell principally on the Armored Infantry Battalions where approximately a quarter of he combat elements were lost. Quick comparative casualty figures in personnel, as well as vehicles and weapons, are tabulated below.
Casualties For The Period
Our Own Enemy
KIA 42 KIA & WIA 465
WIA 442 Prisoners 746
TOTAL 484 TOTAL 1,211
Vehicles and Weapons
Our Own Enemy
Halftracks 2 Tanks (Mark III, IV, & V) 7
Dozers 2 75 mm AT Guns 2
GP Vehicles 7 GP Vehicles 20
TOTAL 11 Wagons 46
Artillery Pieces 3
Over twice as many men were evacuated from exposure and injuries in battle. Strength of the Division at the close of the period was 622 officers and 9,786 enlisted men as over a thousand men returned to duty or were sent forward as reinforcements during the month.
Artillery fired about 1,200 missions, expending 24,000 rounds during the month
to inflict the great majority of damage on enemy personnel and materiel. No
tactical air missions were flown in support of the Division due principally to
adverse weather and the static close-in nature of the action.
Adding a significant part in the cracking of the Siegfried Line to its notable mid-winter Ardennes action, the 11th Armored Division stood battle tried and ready for an accelerating destruction of the deteriorating German Army.