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17th Armored Engineer Battalion in World War 2

17th Engineers during World War 2

AAR from dec. 16th, 1944 to jan. 24th 1945

After action reports from December 16th, 1944 to January 24th 1945

After action report transcribed:

(transcribed by B. Dekker) 

 

DECEMBER 1944

 

16 december 1944:
Lieutenant Henderson gave mine talk to F Company 41st
Company A coordinated with 1115 group to put on demonstration of mine exploders T1E1 & T1E3 and Scorpions.
Held Company commanding officer meeting to discuss administrative matters.
Company D assisted 41st in Tank infantry demonstration.

Weather: Clear and cold.

 

17 december:
Sunday. All companies rested.
Company command A put on 3 hour alert on call to be attached to XVIII Corps.
Increased enemy air activity. Especially during night.
Germans counter attacking in 1st Army sector.
Lieutenant Cowart went to Hasselt with squad of reconaissance platoon.

Weather: Clear and warmer.

 

18 december:
Company A trained in bridge M2 at Alsdorf and worked on road in Company area.
Company E engaged in drawing M2 Treadway bridge to replace M1 bridge.
Enemy air activity continued on increased scale.

Weather: Clean and warm.

 

19 december:
Company A Trained in M2 bridge & did road maintenance.
Company B Conducted training for motion picture.
Company C placed wire for front line near Bormen. Also placed steak pile of mines and staked out mine fields.
Company D checked with 41st on defensive wire & mines.
Reconaissance platoon with Lieutenant Cowart still in Hasselt.
Germans counter offensive in 1st Army sector continues. Company command A alerted for move.
Company C to be pulled back.

Weather: Cloudy and warm.

 

20 december:
29th division took over 2nd Armored section of front.
Company A trained with M2 bridge
Company B maintained roads & prepared for future operations
Company C moved from Freialdenhoven to Hatment area near Ubeck Germany.
Division Reverted to Army Reserve
Weather: Very foggy

 

21 december:
Battalion alerted for move
Company A scheduled to move to area near Wauback
Company B & D had 2 bridge trucks each for training.
Company E finished loading trucks. Returned borrowed floats to 992 Engineers Company.
Two trucks bridge dispatched to Company B and one load to Company A.
Division field observer came out near 2400
S2 section drew and broke down maps.
Major Maloy from Engineer section 9th Army came by.

Weather: Very Foggy.

 

22 december:
Battalion headquarters company & Company C moved out under Division control. Crossed Initial point at Alsdorf at 0640. Continued march via Wurselen, Aachen, Eupen, Verviers, Theox, Louveigne, Tohogne, Oeguier, and on to bivouac at Terwayne, Belgium K307082, arriving at 1700. Bivouaced in houses.
Company A moved with Company command A in right column.
Company B moved with Company command B in same column as Battalion Headquarters
Company D moved with Company command K in right column.
Reverted from XIX Corps 9th Army to VII Corps 1st Army.
Had been working closely with 1107 group 82nd Engineers.

Weather: Cold & foggy with rain.

 

23 december:
Distributed maps to all units
Company A moved out with Company command A
Company B & D alerted
Company E moved out with trains to vicinity of Huy. Made road reconnaissance of all major roads in vicinity.
Lieutenants Cline, Bacigabyi, Henderson & Sergeant Aish were on reconnaissance.

Weather: Hazy & cold. Ground frozen.

 

24 december:
Company A in Ciney placing road blocks to Southwest of town.
Company B moved to vicinity of Ciney during day to take over from Company A.
Company D moved to vicinity of Mohiville with Combat Command ReserveCompany E sent 3 additional bridge loads and crane to Battalion Headquarters
Lieutenant Cowart returned from detail in Hasselt.
Received Field  Observer making engineers responsible for billeting.
Division control units (176th Artillery  702 Tank destroyer, fife and Fosfor.)
Weather Clear and Cold.

 

25 december:
Company A moved to vicinity of Champois 1687 and continued putting out road blocks
Company B supported Company command C in attack Southwest of Ciney
Company C put out 3 questioning posts
Battalion Headquarters, headquarters and C Company moved from Terwayne to  Barvaux  Condros, Belgium P238949 of 1100A. Billated in houses – Company D moved to vicinity of Hogne.
Weather: Clear and Cold.

 

26 december:
No big changes in locations.
Companies all engaged in putting out road blocks
Company B reported close in combat
Submitted defense overlay to 188 Field Artillery Battalion
Captain Hazzard reported to have killed 2 Germans with his pistol.
3rd Platoon Company B went in to attack on tanks as infantry
Weather: Clear & cold. Ground continued frozen.

 

27 december:
Battalion Headquarters at Barvaux Condros
Company A at Forzee P175836
Company B at Conjoux P092858
Company D at Hogne P245867
Company E still near Huy
Company A established road blocks
Company B established road blocks. 3rd Platoon mapped up enemy territory and took several Prisoners
Company C maintained road checking stations and helped clean out a column of enemy abandoned vehicles
Company D established road blocks and supported Combat Command Reserve in attack on Humaine. 1st Platoon actually took town.
Reconnaissance Platoon on road check station.
Company command B destroyed large number of vehicles and guns. Looting was good.

Weather: Continued clear and cold.

 

28 december:
Battalion Headquarters and Company C moved at 1100 to 1 mile south of Ciney Belgium P113893. Had nice set up in evacuated 130 ­­General  hospital replacement center.
Colonel Correll spent night at Battalion.
All companies pulled from front line.
Issued maps __ rations and GI bedding rolls.

Weather: Cold and Very hazy.

 

29 december:
Battalion Headquarters and C company moved at 0800 to Soree Belgium K146033. Also coordinated move of 702nd, 195th & Fife, Fosfor squad All were billated in houses
Company B moved to Chateau, 1,5 miles Southwest of Soree
Company D moved to Montegnet K195020
Company E remained in Area near Huy.
All Checking posts were relieved.
Made Reconnaissance of all bridges along Lossee river from Dinant to Rochefort

Weather: Cold & Hazy Roads slippery Ground still frozen.

 

30 december:
Company A located at Pocheresse P227964
All companies enganged in keeping warm and maintenance
Security plan issued for Division Control Units
Lieutenants Gish & Bacigaluyi contacted 83 & 84 Division for road and bridge information
Lieutenant Thompson joined Battalion Headquarters to look after Company E trucks
Captain Sheets 291 Engineers has been with Battalions liaison for past couple of days.
Captain Corsi 61st Engineers was with us before that

Weather: Cloudy Snow Freezing

 

31 december:
No Change in Company positions
Made reconnaissance of roads leading to East
Broke down responsibility for search of Airborne troops
Got some loaded trucks from 291st Engineers to stand by loaded with sand to spread on roads.

Weather: Cloudy Snow Freezing

 


JANUARY 1945

 

1 january:
All companies alerted for move to assembly area for an attack
Roads sanded over 2 designated routes.
291st Engineers from IIII group relieved from support of Division 120 Group (Colonel Darney) with 297th Engineers (Colonel Fox) placed in support of Division. Captain Sheets departed.
Had Turkey dinner
Held officer meeting
Sent two bridge loads to Company D from Company E
Reconnaissance Platoon sent to widen road at Manhay
Weather: Clear & Cold

 

2 january:
Lieutenant Cline sent ahead with two Cinder trucks to sprinkle road in new Division Headquarters area.
Lieutenant Depolo 297 Engineers liaison officer joined Battalion.
IIII division departed for area near Erezee
Battalion left area at Soree Belgium at 1800.
Roads were icy and very slick in spite of sanding. Arrived in bivouac in houses at Morville P434954 at 2300. Belgian people lamented our departure and in several occasions cried. We were treated royally everywhere we have stayed.
2nd Lieutenant Smith injured by halftrack running over foot.
Weather: Snowy and Cold. Temperature has been constantly below freezing since 23 december.

 

3 january:
Division jumped off an attack at 0830 today.
3rd armored division left flank in VII Corps 84 infantry directly supporting us. 83 division supporting 3rd armored division.
75th Division in Corps Reserve. Progress slow.
Continued sanding roads.

Weather: Cloudy and misty. Ground thawing.

 

4 january:
No change in company positions.
Company’s A & B actively engaged in clearing roads of mines and de-icing to support advance of Company commands.
Company C trained in treadway bridge and assisted company B in maintenance of roads.
Reconnaissance platoon also worked on roads.
Lieutenant Grish assigned to company A to replace lieutenant Smith
Company B had 3 casualties* company A had one.

Weather: Snow. Ground thawing some.
(*Edit: The casualties are wounded men or men who were killed. We know one men was Killed in Action on the 4th of January 1945 that was Private Earl T. Forbes,)

5 january:
Company D moved to Grandmesnil and CCR took over part of company command B front.
Brockway P/M hit mine at Grandmesnil
Reconnaissance platoon cleared and posted roads of mines in company command A sector.
Company A swept roads for mines.
Company B swept roads for mines and made log culvert at P523860. Scattered sand over icy roads
Company C opened bypass and maintained road running south of Joy. Also spread gravel on icy roads.
Company D filled in road crater and placed 36’ treadway bridge at P518869

Weather: Cloudy in morning clear in afternoon. Ground still frozen.

 

6 january:
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
(*Edit: Company A had 4 men missing, there names are unknown)

 

7 january:
Headquarters & C company at Morville P434954
Company A at Erezee and Amonines
Company B at Lamormenil Company D at Freyneux
Company E at Borsu
Reconnaissance cleared roads in Command company A area
Company C cleared road north of Dochamps and swept paths to knocked out mines. Also worked on roads from Magoster to Dochamps
Company B had entire Company on line as infantry. Captain Hazzard notified of furlough to US.
Company D had one platoon on line.
Heavy snow caused Company C & D have to sent up sanding detail and Company D to Erezee at 2300

Weather; Colder and lots of snow at night

 

8 january:
Had 12 trucks from quartermaster detached to battalion to haul road material. Lieutenant Rufle in charge. A truck dispatched to company B. Remainder of trucks sent to Company A for road to Dorchamps. Company A moved two platoons into Dorchamps. Company A rear moved to Armonines (Amonines)
Company D moved to Odeigne?
Sent up truck load of bridge to (___?___) and left it.
Looked for bullets. No luck.
Weather: Cloudy and snowy. Snow approximately 6’’ deep

 

9 january:
Reconnaissance made reconnaissance of proposed MSR? Cleared out road blocks and mines. Forced to withdraw because of sniper and artillery. Private Feldman* missing. (*Edit: not only Private Feldman went missing, on this day Corporal Charles J. Kildea got killed in Action.)
Company C loaded gravel trucks by hand at 0300 and continued to sand roads all day. Worked on road southeast of Harray?
All companies engaged in work on roads.
Company D had one platoon on line.
Captain Carter came back from Leige

Weather: Cloudy- some snow cold.

 

10 january:
No change in company positions
Company A worked on roads in Somree
Company B worked on roads in Somree & road blocks
Company C sanded roads. Check mine field of Amonines. Built landing strip near La Batty, Cleared road for MSR to front. Marked bridges.
Company D released from CCR. Checked roads

Weather: Clear

 

11 january:
Battalion Headquarters, headquarters company & C company moved to Erezee P450905 Command post set up in hotel.
Company A moved to Lamormenil P 505862
Company B moved to Manhay P 533901
Company D still in Odeigne
Company E still in Borsu
Not much action at fronts.
Weather: Clear followed by snow at night

 

12 january:
Company D attached to company command B. Company B reverted to battalion control.
Company C in close support of company A
Lieutenant Grish went to hospital. Also Lieutenant Boergalupi.
Worked on air strip

Weather: Clear

 

13 january:
Company C moved to woods south of Odeigne
No other changes in company positions
Headquarters published Forward Observer on stream crossing at Houffalize
Company C put in a 8 foot Treadway bridge at P568829 and cleared road blocks. Sent up 4 bridge loads to Company C
First part of mine exploder equipment from Army arrived and attached to Company B

Weather: Clear

 

14 january:
Company A _______________________________
Company A __ moved into woods at P524332
All companies engaged in clearing road blocks and sweeping for mines
Sent 4 more loads of bridge to Company C. Company C put in 3+ foot bridge at P568766
Advance good at front
Weather: Clear and warmer

 

15 january:
Company A moved to Wibrin _________________
Company C moved to ______ Wibrin
Company D moved to Dinez
Company C put in __ ft bridge at Hegd.ouffe P580742
_______________Bridge ___________
4 trucks from company D ___ released to their unit
___ worked on roads
___ cleared roads
Reached outskirts of Houffalize
Weather: clear in morning ___ in afternoon
Captain Fry transferred to 166 general hospital

 

16 january:
No change in company positions
Company C ___ put in bridge at Houffalize. Never put in ______
Cleared roads down to ____ river
12 quartermaster gravel trucks returned to quartermaster. Had been used since 8 january
New F.O. published directing movement to vicinity Verviers. Billeting party sent out

Weather: Clear

 

17 january:
Battalion headquarters advanced in woods south of Caergne Main at Erezee.
Company A in Wibrin, Company B in woods north of Dinez
Company C in woods north of Wibrin. Company D in Les Tailles.
Company E in Hegdouffe. No change in Company positions.
Company B constructed 36’ Treadway bridge at Houffalize
Company C cleared river road leading into Houffalize
Engineers officially linked up with 3rd army at Houffalize
All companies reassembling equipment
Officers and men sent to Paris

Weather: Snowy and cloudy

 

18 january:
Battalion, B & C company moved to vicinity of Erezee
All companies engaged in reassembling equipment
Brockway truck wrecked en route
Weather: warmer. Snow

 

19 january:
All dozers engaged in clearing drifts in roads in company command A area
5 Enlisted Men sent to quartermaster to work on utillities in Hasselt
First elements moved to area

Weather: cloudy. Snow flurries

(*Edit: on this day Technician 5th Grade Jospeph Fumagalli and Private First Class Thomas N Koliopulos were Killed in action)

20 january:
Bridge removed from Houffalize
Battalion. Headquarters, A,B,C & D company moved starting about noon.
Battalion and headquarters company moved to Rivage K 476188
Company A moved to Ognee K525155
Company B moved to Presseux K505127
Company C moved to Chonxhe K484136
Company D moved to Traiture K488123
Company E remained in Hegdouffe
Dozers cleared roads for movement of columns
Headquarters company in nice billets with electric lights water of steam heat. Model command post set
All companies reverted to battalion control
Held commanding officer meeting 1830
Weather: Cloudy and snow

 

21 january:
Company B cleared roads in command company B area
Company C cleared roads in battalion area
Company E moved to Lille
Two carpenters sent to maintenance battalion to work on command post truck
Detail from Company D sent out on wood procuring for division headquarters. Also reconnaissance platoon
Reconnaissance made for shower point and gravel pits also of roads in assigned areas.
D7 Caterplillar (Dozer) sent to work on Cl III dump
Company B given detail of building Radio school
Weather: Clear

 

22 january:
Reconnaissance put up showers at Chonxhe
D7 worked on roads at quartermaster and cleared a landing strip
Held commanding officers meeting
Company E put in 120’ trestle Treadway bridge at K4811
Limey Red’s birthday (’55)

Weather: Clear and warmer

 

23 january:
All companies engaged in maintenance
Colonel Shute came by to see us
Selected rifle range
Company D worked on bridge approaches

Weather: Clear

 

24 january:
All companies engaged in maintenance
Company C dozer worked at main __
Held company commanding officers meeting
Staff Sergeant Watts started work with S3 officers

Weather: Clear and colder.