Hq. Co., 2nd Bn., 112th Infantry
APO 28 US Army
6 December 1944
Subject: Unit History for November
To: S-1, 112th Infantry
The 1st finds us in the Hurtgen Forest about one half mile west of Germeter. Everybody has plenty of cash in his pocket, being that yesterday was payday. The irony is that there is no place to spend it.
On the 2nd, an attack was launched by the battalion at 9:30 against Vossenack, which proved successful, and the C. was established in the cellar of a house 300 yards east of the shell battered church. PFC Robert Somerville was evacuated due to wounds caused by a smoke shell. Sgt. Delay, T/Sgt. Harry G. Umbenhauer and PFC Andrew Pelech were wounded by antipersonnel mines. Umbenhauer and Pelech both died from their wounds. Delay was evacuated by the medics. Cpl. William O'Brien was also wounded and evacuated.
The night of the 2nd was comparatively quiet, although the enemy resumed shelling the following morning. All movement was kept at a minimum, due to the fact that we were disposed on a ridge which stood out like a sore thumb, and the enemy had excellent observation of the ridge, not only from the east, but from the high ground near Brandenberg and Bergstein to the northeast as well.
On the 3rd, PFC Willard Radcliffe was wounded and evacuated.
On the morning of the 4th, Pvts. Robert Oak and donald Corcoran were killed by fragments of a mortar shell which landed near them. In the evening the CP was moved to a more secure shelter about a hundred yards west of the church.
In the meantime, the shelling of our position by the enemy grows steadily more intense. The only let-up is at night, and during the daylight hours, only when our planes are flying overhead. Sometimes the enemy fires in spite of the planes.
The tempo of the enemy fire seemed to continually increase until the morning of the 6th, F and G companies, after having received the direct fire deflected flak guns and 88s, not to mention the artillery and mortar fire, for three consecutive days and nights, we withdrew.
As a consequence of this, we built up a line on both sides of the CP. The A & P Platoon defended the north side of the road, and the Communications Platoon defended the south side. Considering the intensity of the shellfire, an enemy counterattack seemed inevitable.
During the day the Battalion was strengthened by the 146th Combat Engineer Battalion, but not before the enemy had retaken the ground as far out as the church. Pvt. Louis Rothstein was wounded and evacuated.
On the 7th Major General Cota came up to look over the situation, and he must have had his Guardian Angel along with him, for during his stay and for some minutes after he left, not a shell landed in the area.
On the night of the 8th, we were relieved by the 2nd Battalion of the 109th Infantry, and what men were left withdrew to the draw west of Germeter, where we were picked up by trucks and taken to the rear.
On the morning of the 9th, we were able to shave, wash off some of the previous week's dirt, and get some clean clothing.
That afternoon, we moved by foot to a bivouac area about 4 miles northwest of Jagerhaus. Here we managed to be on the receiving end of a keg of beer through the efforts of Mr. Rupp, the Regimental Red Cross Field Director.
On the 10th, Lt. Col. Joseph L. ManSalka was assigned to us as Battalion Commander, succeeding Lt. Col. Hatzfeld who was previously evacuated by the medics.
We received replacements to bring to company up to full strength.
At 4:30 PM, we moved by foot to a new assembly area about 1 mile south of Germeter, just west of the main road which runs into the town. It snowed all day and most of the night which doesn't help matters any.
On the morning of the 11th, we left the assembly area, and marched to practically the same position we were in before the original attack, except that we were about 500 yards farther east. We were held up for a time by very heavy artillery concentration, but were in position by early afternoon.
Captain Graham was evacuated due to illness, and Lt. Orozco likewise, although Lt. Orozco put in an appearance the next day, even though he had to go AWOL from the medics. To date, there have been no repercussions. Captain John F. Lukens was appointed as S-3 to succeed Captain Graham.
We stayed in this position till the night if the 14th, when, after dark we moved by foot to an entrucking area several miles east. At 11:00 PM we left for Wilwerdange, Luxembourg, arriving shortly after daybreak. Early in the afternoon we moved by foot through Weiswampach to Leiler where the CP was set up. Needless to say, nobody had any tears at the thought of having to leave the Hurtgen Forest.
Although we are not in a rest area, it is a lot more quiet here, and in comparison to Vosenack, it's like comparing the reading room of the town library with Broadway and 42nd St. during the rush hours.
Here, we are getting a goodly quantity of beer, movies now and then as the situation permits, and showers and clean clothing.
On the 23rd, we all partook of a healthy portion of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, peas, cranberry sauce, squash pie, peaches and whipped cream, bread, butter, and coffee. All chow hounds were well taken care of, and that in turn took care to see that nothing was wasted.
No unusual changes have taken place up to the 30th, when we were paid off in Belgian money, which is about the only kind of currency which is negotiable in these parts, and there are some places to spend it, which is really saying a lot.
During our stay here, some 6 of the men are receiving passes to Paris, Arlon in Belgium, and Clervaux, which is about 5 miles south of Weiswampach.
Robert F. Flynn
1st Lt. 112th Inf.