Chapter 13


1 See U.S. Military Government files on Aachen and Condron, The Fall of Aachen. Unless otherwise noted, this chapter is based upon official records of the 1st Div (in particular, the 26th Inf), the VII Corps, and the 1106th Engr C Gp, plus 1st Div Combat Intervs and FUSA AAR, Oct 44.

2 For a full text of the ultimatum and an account of the experiences of those who delivered it, see 1st Div G-3 Per Rpt, 10 Oct 44.

3 In the light of cover available to the Germans in thick-walled building and cellars, seasoned observers hardly could have hoped for much more than a psychological effect from the bombardment. Airmen subsequently were to note "that the final capture of Aachen . . . was not materially speeded by bombing . . . ... See Hq, USAF in Europe, The Contribution of Air Power to the Defeat of Germany, VOL 2, Western Front Campaign, p. 170.

4 Not to be excluded from the bombardment, the 1106th Engineer Combat Group in defensive positions astride the heights south of Aachen rigged an ingenious device which the men dubbed the V-13. Towing an Aachen streetcar to the crest of a hill, they stacked the car with captured explosives set with a time fuse and sent it careening down the trolley tracks into the city. On the first try, the car exploded prematurely. A second ground to a halt at the wreckage of the first. After patrols had cleared the track, the engineers tried again. This time the car reached the city proper before it exploded. Whether it did any actual damage to German installations was irrelevant in view of the impish delight the engineers derived from it.

5 Sergeant Wise was awarded the DSC.

6 These guns were from Btry C, 991st FA Bn.

7 Unless otherwise noted, German material is from LXXXI Corps, Kampf um Aachen.

8 See 99th Inf Bn AAR, Oct 44; 30th Div Combat Intervs for the period.

9 TWX, OB WEST to Army Group B, 2215, 18 Oct 44, OB WEST KTB, Befehle und Meldungen.

10 During a counterattack against Ravels Hill on 18 October, an 18th Infantry sergeant, Max Thompson, played the role of a one-man army. Seeing that the Germans had overrun a neighboring platoon, Sergeant Thompson used successively a machine gun, bazooka, automatic rifle, and hand grenades to halt the attack. He received the Medal of Honor.

11 OB WEST KTB, 20 Oct 44.

12 For a detailed breakdown of units, see Heichler, The Fall of Aachen.

13 VII Corps Opns Memo 107, 18 Oct, VII Corps Opns Memo file, Oct 44. This confirms oral orders issued the day before.

14 A detailed account of, Task Force Hogan’s role in the battle of Aachen may be found in 1st Division Combat Interview file, October 1944.

15 TWX, OB WEST to OKW/WFSt, 1740, 20, Oct 44, OB WEST KTB, Befehle und Meldungen.

16 Sergeant Padgett has provided a lucid account of his experiences. FUSA G-2 Per Rpt 154, 11 Nov 44, copy in 1st Div Combat Interv file.

17 The German radio operator sent a final homespun message at 1238: "We now sign off, with regards to our buddies and the folks back home."

18 The Germans admitted but 5,100 casualties of all types.

19 The Germans estimated total American losses at 13,320.

20 The 30th Division alone claimed to have destroyed 70.

21 LXXXI Corps, Art.-Lage u. Art.-Gliederungen, 11 Oct-18 Dec 44. On 17 October the Germans had narrowed the LXXXI Corps sector by inserting the XII SS Corps north of the LXXXI Corps, establishing, the boundary between the 49th and 183d Divisions as the new corps boundary. Artillery in the XII SS Corps was not included in the estimate of batteries in the Aachen sector.

22 Arty AARs of VII and XIX Corps, 1st and 30th Divs, Oct 44.

23 Critics of General Corlett’s West Wall campaign have intimated that he was relieved because General Hodges was dissatisfied with methods of the XIX Corps in sealing the Aachen Gap. See XIX Corps Combat Intervs, Oct 44.

24 In World War I, General McLain commanded a machine gun company in the Champagne and Meuse-Argonne Campaigns. In World War II, his early combat experience was as artillery commander with the 45th Division in Sicily. In July 1944, after the 90th Division had proved a disappointment in its first combat (see [Roland G. Ruppenthal] Utah Beach to Cherbourg, Washington, 1947, and Blumenson, Breakout and Pursuit), General McLain had assumed command of that division.

25 City of Aachen, Annex 3 to VII Corps G-2 Per Rpt 138, 21 Oct, VII Corps G-3 Jnl file, 21-22 Oct 44.

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