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#3 Missing 01/04/1945 – 01/06/1945 KNOWN BUT TO GODUnit: 17 Engr Bn 2nd Armd Div, Company A Rank: UnknownBorn: Unknown
Location grave : Unknown
Where was the unknown 17th Armored Engineer (#3) killed in action?
Campaign: Belgium The Ardennes, battle of the Bulge, second phase.
Now follows historic information on what happend on the 4th of January 1944
On 1 Jan, 1945. With Hq at Morville 2 to 10 Jan, all elements of the Bn were engaged in clearing roads of snow, sanding roads, and clearing mines and abatee type road blocks. Mountainous terrain, snowcovered roads, a generous use of AT mines and booby traps by the enemy, their demolition of bridges and construction of numerous road blocks of felled trees, and the results of artillery fire on roads and villages required a continuous use of Engineer personnel in the forward areas. Company “A” on 2 January supported an attack by the 335th Inf Regt, 84th Div, on Befee, with four men reported MIA*.
(Source: Unit History of the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion)
(Edit: the men missing are from Company A, so further sources are being researched on Company A)
No change in Company positions except company D moved to La Batty.
Company B constructed culvert & cleared roads of mines and debris
Company C maintained road with one platoon
Company D had one platoon as infantry
Received 4 more bridgeloads from company E
Company A had 4 men missing* and one injured in action near Consy
Reconnaissance & ?? cleared town of Grand Menil
Weather: Cloudy snow. Some warmer
(Source: After action reports from December 16th, 1944 to January 24th 1945)
(* Edit: the men missing are stated missing on 6th January,2 days later then the Unit History mentions. But in the AAR is also written that the action was in “Consy” when they went missing. The battle for Consy however, with CCA with the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion- A company, had taken place from the 4th of January until the 6th. This is being written out in several history books of the 84th Division and the 2nd Armored Division. Below is more information what happend on the 4th of January until the 6th of January 1945..
4th January; Combat Command A, Taskfore A, with attached:
– 1 platoon, Company A, 17th Armored Engineer Battalion.
“Brigadier General Collier’s Combat Command A starting to attack on January 4, planning to capture the town called “Beffe”
The weather was terrible, lots of snow, mist and very low tempratures, the roads were very slippery because they were coverd with ice.
The left column of Taskforce A remained near Magoster, driving the enemy from the immidiate region. As the haze lifted, the Americans spoteed 7 German tank in a valley about 800 yards to the south west.
A Tankdestroyer cam forward too engage the enemy tanks but it was destroyed after firing a single shot. At 8:00 PM Lt Clnl. Huge O’Farrell, the taskforce Commander, cosolidated both collumns at Beffe and sent a patrol to determen if “Consy” were held by the enemy. He had an unconfimed report that the town and the road junction were clear. In fact, the enemy was in the hamlet, and in strenght: the next day the battle to take, it was bitter.
4th January; Combat Command A, Taskfore B, with attached:
– 1 platoon, Company A, 17th Armored Engineer Battalion
Taskforce B planned to capture “Devantave” on January 4. The Germans attacked at 4:50 AM, 6:15 AM and at 8:30 PM, attempting to drive them from the village. All three attacks were repulsed by artillery firing fuze VT8OE (POZIT) with deadly effect. The Taskforce resuming its attack at 3:35 PM ran into stiff resistance on the outskirts of town. After destroying 4 enemy tanks, it pulled back to the woods West of the objective to consolidate for the night. The men could hear the enemy digging and improving their positions, but heard nothing else unusual.
(Source: Book: Hells on Wheels 1942 – 1945 by Donald E. Houston)
Although much of the heaviest fighting went on for Beffe itself, the basic problem of this phase of the attack was really the Consy ridge. The capture of Beffe was also typical.
At dawn 6 January 1945, Company “I”, 335th Infantry, followed by medium tanks, and Company “K”, 335th Infantry followed by light tanks, jumped off. By 0930, the tanks had reached the edge of Devantave. At 1100, Company “I” moved into the western half, Company “K” the eastern half. Resistance inside the village was light. By 1210, occupation was complete. With the capture of Magoster, Beffe and Devantave, a deep hole was driven in the crust of the enemy’s defensive position on the right flank of our zone. The stage was set for an attack on his most troublesome position, Consy, the “village” with a single house. Meanwhile, we were still progressing easily on our left flank between the Aisne and the Houffalize Road. From Devantave, the 2nd Armored Division, with the 335th Infantry still attached, veered off more sharply to the southeast to get to Samree through Dochamps, while the 84th Infantry Division assumed responsability for the drive southward to La Roche and for the La Roche Road as far as Samree.
The Doughboys who went into Devantave fought 96 hours without a break and they were not through by a long shot. We took Consy the way we took most of the strong points – by going around it.
When we took Devantave on 6 January 1945, we outflanked Consy on the left. Then we sent two battalions into the woods west of Consy and the enemy was squezzed out in the middle. He did not choose to hold even this commanding position at Consy at all cost. By 7 January 1945, Consy was virtually cleaned out though the woods on the right flank were not completely safe for another two days.
(Source: 84th Infantry Division, Sgt Theodore DRAPER, on criba.be)
The four 17th Armored Engineer Battalion who were noted as missing from company A were part of Combat Command A, Taskforce A and B. Between the 2nd and 6th of January they were attached to the 84th Infantry Division, 355th Infantry Regiment. They went missing during the fights on Beffe and de Consy ridge as stated in the Unit History and the After Action Reports and went missing between the 4th and 6th of January 1945. The names of the Missing are uknown.
Location where the 17th Amored Engineer A-Company # 3 went Missing:
Research © by: Martijn Brandjes
Text © by: Martijn Brandjes