Ralph SiricoUnit: 17 Engr Bn 2nd Armd Div, Company Unknown Rank: CorporalBorn: 1910
Awards and Citations: Purple Heart
Location: Wurselen/ Schaufenberg, Germany
Hometown: Bronx (Districts 501-750), Bronx, New York, United States
Army Serial Number: 32343165
Burial: Burial: Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial
Arrondissement de Verviers
Plot: E row 11 grave 52
GPS (lat/lon): 50.6985, 5.90089
Location grave of Corporal Ralph Sirico at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial , Belgium
Where was Corporal Ralph Sirico wounded in action?
Campaign: Rhineland Campaign, Breeching the Siegfried Line
(Source: Unit History 17th Armored Engineer Battalion)
General Leland Hobbs’ 30th Infantry Division would be assisted by the 2nd Armored Division, which would exploit the 30th Division’s penetration of the Siegfried Line, while their flanks were protected by the 29th Infantry Division.
The 30th Infantry Division, with elements of the 29th Infantry and 2nd Armored divisions, continued its push southwards between 13–16 October, in the sector of the village of Würselen; however, even with heavy air support, they were unsuccessful in breaking through German defenses and linking up with allied forces to the south. The Germans took advantage of the narrow front to pound advancing attackers with artillery, and progress remained slow as German tanks used houses as bunkers to surprise and overwhelm American foot soldiers.
Germany, on 13 October 1944, when his organization participated in a coordinated infantry-tank attack destined to isolate the large German garrison which was tenaciously defending the city of Aachen. In the first day’s action, when infantrymen ran into murderous small-arms and mortar fire, Capt. Burt dismounted from his tank about 200 yards to the rear and moved forward on foot beyond the infantry positions, where, as the enemy concentrated a tremendous volume of fire upon him, he calmly motioned his tanks into good firing positions.
(Source: Medal of Honor Citation: BURT, JAMES M.Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, Company B, 66th Armored Regiment, 2d Armored Division. Place and date: Near Wurselen, Germany, 13 October 1944)
On 12 October 1944 the 3rd Battalion was attached to the 116th In-fantry Regiment of the 30th Infantry Division at Bardenburg. The regiment’s mission was to attack toward Wurselen with the goal of cutting the routes leading north and northwest out of Aachen. The attack south began on 13 October, with each of the three tank companies (G, H, and B) attached to a battalion of the 116th Infantry. The attack advanced slowly over the next several days as the Germans fought with everything they had. Their resis-tance was so intense on 16 October that the American battalion was unable to advance even three hundred yards as they had done the day before. Ger-man attacks were frequent and employed heavy concentrations of mortar and artillery fire, a desperate bid to keep Aachen from being encircled.’
(Source: Iron Knights: The U.S. 66th Armored Regiment in World War II by Gordon A. Blaker)
Unfortunately there is no infromation about the Company of the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion that Corporal Sirico served in.
Company A 17th Armored Engineer Battalion, in Combat Command B
The resources tells us that around the 13th of october the plantoons of Company A of the 17th Engineers saw a lot of action.
With the 117t Infantry Regiment of the 30th Infantry Division on the 10th of October they attacked Schaufenberg, and cuptured it, Engineers laid mines and boobytraps.
Then on the 13th of October 1944, Combat Command B with the 66th Armored Division, a battalion of the 116th infantry, 29th infantry Division, and 1 platoon of A Company, 17th Engineers start to attack toward Wurselen with the goal of cutting the routes leading north and northwest out of Aachen. The Germans fought with everthing they had and had heavy of mortar and artillery fire. Finally they closed the cap at the south of Aachen.
Company B and C 17th Armored Engineer Battalion, in Combat Command A
Company B, 17th Armored Engineer Battalion with two platoons in Combat Command A captured the town of Oidtweiler on October 10th and built defensive positions at the North flank of the gap.
The position were improved with trip and barbed wire, the enemy was ofentimes only 300 yards away, heavy barrages of artillery and mortars caused many casualties.
(Source: Book: Hells on Wheels 1942 – 1945 by Donald E. Houston)
The A, B and C Companies of the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion were part of two Combat Commands A and B. Around the day that Corporal Ralph Sirico died from his wounds Combat Command B was doing an attack with tanks and infantry and aparantly the Engineers were also tasked with regualar infantry actions. Or he was wounded by artillery or mortars, its hard to tell. We know that Corporal Ralph Sirico died of wounds, so he could be wounded days or even weeks before.
On the day that Corporal Ralph Sirico died of his wounds on October 13th, Private First Class Farris D. Smith from Company A and Private George M. Natale were Killed in Action .
Location where Corporal Ralph Sirico was mortally wounded in action:
Around the 13th of October Combat Commands were active around Schaufenberg and Wurselen.
Official casualty list
Temporary Burial at Henri Chapelle, Belgium
The location of the house where Ralph Sirico lived with the family, as an 20year old “plumber”:
United States Census, 1930 Ralph Serico*
|Event Place||Bronx (Districts 501-750), Bronx, New York, United States|
|Relationship to Head of Household||Son|
|Relationship to Head of Household (Original)||Son|
|Birth Year (Estimated)||1910|
(The Senus 1930 also mentions that in 1930 Ralph Sirico was an “plumber”.)
Father is: Emilio Serico
Mother is: Mary Donnellan
|Name (Original)||SIRICO RALPH|
|Event Type||Military Service|
|Event Date||25 May 1942|
|Term of Enlistment||Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law|
|Event Place||Ft Jay, Governors Island, New York, United States|
|Education Level||Grammar school|
|Army Branch||Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA|
|Army Component||Selectees (Enlisted Men)|
|Source Reference||Civil Life|
|Affiliate ARC Identifier||1263923|
|Box Film Number||05002.164|