Chapter 15


1 Tentative plans for renewing the offensive may be found in Operations Plan, VII Corps, 28 October 1944, dated 27 October, VII Corps G-3 FO file, Oct 44.

2 V Corps FO 30, 21 Oct, and Ltrs of Instrs, 23 and 30 Oct 44, V Corps Operations in the ETO, pp. 282, 284, and 288.

3 Interv with Col Carl L. Peterson (formerly CO, 112th Inf), Bradford, Pa., 21-22-23 Sep 48.

4 Interv with Bradley, 7 Jun 56.

5 V Corps Supplement No. 1 to Engr Intel Rpt 27, 27 Oct, V Corps C-3 file, 26-27 Oct 44; Interv with Gens Gerow and Hill (formerly G-3, V Corps), and Brig Gen Charles G. Helmick (formerly arty comdr, V Corps), 15 Oct 54.

6 Memo, FUSA to V Corps, Plans for Future Operations, V Corps, dtd 7 Nov, in V Corps G-3 FO file, Nov. 44. The FUSA Report of Operations, Volume 1, says the 28th Division's Schmidt attack was "a preliminary phase of a plan by V Corps to seize the two large dams on the Roer River . . . ." Though General Hodges, in a letter to OCMH, I I July 1956, calls attention to this entry, the author has rejected it in the absence of contemporary evidence. The VII Corps commander, General Collins, has noted that American commanders are open to criticism for their delay in facing the problem of the dams. See Interv with Collins, 25 Jan 54.

7 1st Div, Annex 2 (Intel) to FO 53, 6 Nov, 1st Div G-3 Opns Rpt, Nov 44.

8 V Corps FO 30, 21 Oct, and Ltrs of Instrs, 23 and 30 Oct, V Corps Operations in the ETO, pp. 282, 284, and 288. See also VII Corps Annex 1 to Opns Memo 114, 1 Nov, VII Corps Opns Memo file, Oct 44.

9 FUSA and IX TAC Summary of Air Opns, IX Fighter Command and IX TAC, Unit History, 1-30 Nov 44.

10 As General Cota so stated in an interview filed with 28th Div Combat Intervs for Nov 44. More combat interviews were obtained on this operation than on any other specific ground action in the European Theater of Operations. Unless otherwise noted5 these interviews and official records of the V Corps, the 28th Division, and attached units constituted the sources for this account. Of additional value was a factual study on almost every phase prepared soon after the operation by a board of V Corps officers appointed by General Gerow, filed with V Corps records. A detailed, thoroughly documented account of the action at a small unit level, entitled "Objective: Schmidt," is to be found in Charles B. MacDonald and Sidney T. Mathews, Three Battles: Arnaville, Altuzzo, and Schmidt, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1952).

11 MSS # A 891 (Generalmajor Rudolph Freiherr von Gersdorff) and # A 905 (Generalmajor Siegfried von Waldenburg); ETHINT 53 (Gersdorff), ETHINT 56 (Gersdonff and Waldenburg), and ETHINT 57 (Gersdorff); and Relief Schedule, Abloesungsplan, 28 Oct 44, found in OB WEST KTB, Anlage 50, VOL L.

12 See Engr Plan, 30 Oct, 28th Div G 3 JnI file, Oct 44.

13 Sylvan Diary, entry Of 31 Oct 44; Msg, Gerow to Cota, 28th Div G-3 Jnl, 31 Oct 44; Msg, CG FUSA to CG VII Corps, FUSA G-3 Jnl file, Nov 44. Though the latter message is undated, it obviously was sent on 1 November.

14 See 28th Div G-3 Jnl, 3 Nov 44, and interv with Col Peterson, 21-22-23 Sep 48.

15 Interv with Gen Cota, 15 SeP 48.

16 V Corps and 28th Div G-2 Jnl files, 3 Nov 44; sitreps 2-4 Nov 44, found in OB WEST KTB, Befehle und Meldungen; Order of the Day commemorating the battles of Kommerscheidt and Schmidt, entitled Division Review of the 89th Division (hereafter cited as 89th Div Order of the Day). This captured document is available only in translation by V Corps IPW Team II, both in the 28th Div AAR, Oct 44, and as reproduced in Halsell, Huertgen Forest and the Roer River Dams.

17 MSS # A 891 and A 892 (Gersdorff) and A 905 (Waldenburg); ETHINT 53 (Gersdorff) and ETHINT 56 (Gersdorff and Waldenburg); Sitreps, 2 4 Nov 44, found in OB WEST KTB, Befehle und Meldungen; 89th Div Order of the Day; 28th Div G 2 JnI file, 3 Nov 44.

18 Unlike most German regiments during this period, those of the 89th Division had three instead of two battalions of infantry, but the division had only two regiments.

19 MSS # C-016 (Straube) and # A-905 (Waldenburg); Sitreps, 2-4 Nov 44, OB WEST KTB, Befehle und Meldungen.

20 MS P-032a (Bruns); 89th Div Order of the Day.

21 MS A-903 (Waldenburg).

22 MSS # A-891 and A-892 (Gersdorff), A-105 (Waldenburg), C-016 (Straube), and # P-032 (Bruns); ETHINT-56 (Gersdorff and Waldenburg); Sitreps, 2-4 Nov 44, OB WEST KTB, Befehle und Meldungen; 89th Div Order of the Day.

23 A not unlikely estimate in light of MS A 905 (Waldenburg).

24 Germah sources are an entry of 5 Nov 44 in OB WEST KTB and 89th Div Order of the Day.

25 Quotation from a combat interview with Doherty.

26 See Sitreps, 6 Nov 44, OB WEST KTB, Belehle und Meldungen.

27 For heroic action at Kommerscheidt during 4-6 November, one of the tank destroyer platoon leaders, 1st Lt. Turney W. Leonard, who was subsequently seriously wounded, was awarded the Medal of Honor.

28 German sources on this point are vague. See MS # A-905 (Waldenburg) and # C-016 (Straube); ETHINT 56 (Gersdorff and Waldenburg); Sitreps 6 Nov 44, OB WEST KTB, Befehle und Meldungen; 28th Div G-2 and G-3 Jnls and files, 6 Nov 44.

29 As the engineers neared the church, Pvt. Doyle W. McDaniel climbed atop a building to search for enemy riflemen who were impeding his company's advance. Later he repeated the action; but the second time the Germans spotted and killed him. He was awarded the DSC posthumously.

30 For German plans, see Sitreps, 7 Nov 44, OB WEST KTB, Befehle und Meldungen, and ETHINT-56 (Gersdorff and Waldenburg).

31 Though out of ammunition, Pfc. Henry J. Kalinowsky stormed across an open field in the face of fire from five Germans in a house, jumped through a window, and forced the Germans to surrender at the point of his empty rifle. He was awarded the DSC.

32 Sitreps, 7 Nov 44, OB WEST KTB, Befehle und Meldungen.

33 89th Div Order of the Day.

34 Captain Hackard subsequently received the DSC.

35 Sylvan Diary, entry of 8 Nov 44. See also entries of i through 7 November.

36 Ibid.

37 Colonel Nelson's presence confirmed the fact that Colonel Peterson was to have been relieved, but not summarily, that is, not in the sense that his performance had been unsatisfactory. Interv with Cota.

38 MS # A-891 (Gersdorff); ETHINT-56 (Gersdorff and Waldenburg); Entries of 1-12 Nov 44, OB WEST KTB, Sitreps, 9 io Nov 44, OB WEST KTB, Befehle und Meldungen.

39 For this story and greater detail on the trials of the i2th Infantry, see below, Chapter XVIII.

40 MS A-891 (Gersdorff).

41 Secret order of 8 Nov 44, found in OB WEST KTB, Befehle und Meldungen.

42 V Corps Factual Study, V Corps records; MS# A-905 (Waldenburg).

43 Statement by Maj Gen Harold R. Bull, SHAEF G-3, in conf with Gen Smith, SHAEF CofS, and Gen Bull by ETO Theater Historians, copy in OCMH files. This document is undated, but the conference was held in the European Theater of Operations in September 1945. Other than those instances mentioned in Chapter XIV, above, SHAEF files contain no reference to the Roer River Dams before midNovember.

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Last updated 26 September 2006