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The 808th Tank Destroyer Battalion

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February 1945 After Action Report

February 1 - 6

During this period the Battalion continued attached to TF REED, (2nd Cavalry Group, Reinforced) protecting the right flank of the XII Corps along the MOSELLS RIVER between WASSERBILLIG AND KONTZ (this is approximately where they were during the battle of the bulge)."A" Co continued in support of the 2nd Cavalry Squadron (CT COTELLO) and "B" Co continued in support of the 42nd Cavalry Squadron (CT HARGISS), each company providing AMczd defenses with two platoons and with the 3rd (reserve) platoon in the roll of reinforcing artillery. "C" Co was employed as reinforcing artillery in its entirety.

During this period plans were completed for the conversion of the Battalion from towed to a self-propelled unit with M-36 Tank Destroyers.

The indirect fire delivered during this period was principally harassing and interdictory fire. However, on February 6 the battalion supported the attack of the XII Corps to the North by fire on 19 missions. The period total was 52 missions and 27 registrations.

On February 4 the 9th TD Group (CT DARLING) took over the sector of CT HARGISS and Reconnaissance Company was attached. It operated armored and foot patrol along the MOSELLE RIVER and operated OP's and MG positions.

February 7 - 21

On February 7 the first four M-36's were received from Ordnance, were issued to "B" Co, and assigned to the 2nd Platoon. On the 8th eight additional M-36's were received from Ordnance and were issued to "B" Co.

On the 9th "B" Co was relieved from attachment to TF REED and attached to the 76th Infantry Division. The Platoon test fired its 90 mm guns and Cal. .50 MG's and marched to an assembly area vicinity DICKWEILLER.

On the 11th the 1st Platoon was relieved of attachment to TF REED and attached to the 5th Infantry Division and by the 5th Division to the 903rd TD Battalion. The Platoon test-fired its 50 Cal MG's and 90 mm's and marched to an assembly area vicinity (P928355).

Also on the 11th the 3rd Platoon of "B" Co marched to an assembly area near DICKWEILLER, and "B" Co, less the 1st Platoon, (attached to the 5th Infantry Division), was attached to the 76th Infantry Division and placed in direct support of the 417th Infantry Regiment.

The mission of "B" Co was to support the assault of the 417th Infantry on the fortifications on the NORTH side of the SAUER RIVER.

Initially the attachment was conditioned by the understanding that no platoons would cross the SAUER RIVER until they had, in the judgment of the company commander, trained sufficiently to justify the commitment. Training was accomplished by maneuvering into positions and supporting the assault of the infantry on pill boxes across the river. On February 13th the 1st and 2nd Plats were committed across the river and on the 15th the 3rd Plat crossed.

On the 16th the 1st platoon was relieved of attachment to the 5th Infantry Division and returned to the company. The Company was then employed with one platoon supporting each battalion of the 417th until February 16 when the 385th Infantry relieved the 417th. "B" Co then went into direct support of the 385th.

During this period "B" Co supported the infantry by firing on the fortifications, OP's, personnel and AT guns. The effect of the fire in all instances was good and the infantry was assisted materially in taking their objectives by this fire. The fire on the pill boxes was closely coordinated with the infantry and was particularly effective. In some instances the pill boxes were so effectively neutralized the the infantry to the boxes without receiving a round of enemy fire. During the period a total of 54 pill boxes and 4 OP's were neutralized, 3 AT guns were destroyed and 15 enemy estimated killed.

On February 15 one M-36 of the 2nd platoon was withdrawing from a position from which it had fired on pill boxes and struck a mine, disabling the destroyer but no casualties resulted. The destroyer was evacuated but declared a combat loss. The area had been swept by engineers but the mine was a wooden box type and the mine sweepers did not respond to it. The extent of the damage to the destroyer and the size of the crater indicate that two mines did the damage.

On February 18 the 2nd platoons, 691st TD Bn, was attached to "B" Co and occupied AMczd positions vicinity ERNZEN.

During this period the remainder of the battalion remained attached to TF REED.

On February 9 when the 2nd Plat of "B" Co came off line and received M-36's, the 2nd Rcn Plat took over the operation of the 3" guns in place and manned them for two days, the 7th and 8th.

On the 9th the 3rd Plat of "C" Co took over these positions and occupied them until the 14th when the guns were pulled out entirely. "C" Co at the same time continued to operate 12 guns in indirect fire positions. "A" Co continued to occupy AMczd positions with two platoons and indirect positions with one plat.

During this period the battalion expended 441 rnds 3" HE NC and 4 rnds 3" HE RC indirect on 10 missions and 6 registration. In addition 7 rnds of Shell, illuminating Mk 24, Navy Mod. 1 were fired on the call of the Cavalry. The results were good and in two instances OP's were able to observe enemy activity in the light. On the 7th and again on the 10th and 14th tanks were observed in the l94th Division area across the MOSELLE RIVER. They were at extreme ranges but were fired on and dispersed; the amount of damage inflicted is n ot known. Also an enemy MG was destroyed in that area. Sixty-six rnds 3" APC and 15 rnds HE direct were fired.

On February 11 "C" Co received one M-36 and on the 12th "A" Co received one. The companies started a program of intensive training with the Destroyers. On Feb 14th "C" Co received 5 M-36's and the entire company was relieved on line to train. The company was held in reserve and all 3" guns on normal barrage prepared to be manned on call.

On the 19th the 10th Armored Division and the 94th Infantry Division of the XX Corps attacked to the North on the East side of the MOSELLE RIVER. "C" Co occupied positions in the vicinity of EHNEN - OBERMORMELDANGE to support the attack and to support TF REED in containing WINCHERINGEN. "c" Co destroyed one artillery piece with 6 rnds HE and 6 rnds APC.

February 22 - 28

On February 22 the Battalion was relieved of attachment to TF REED and attached to the 76th Infantry Division. "A" Company was placed in division reserve, remaining in FLAXWEILER, and continued training. "B" Company continued in support of the 385th and "C" Co was attached initially to the 304th Infantry. On the 22nd the Battalion CP and Reconnaissance Company moved to ECHTERNACH. On the 21st "C" Co received 5 M-36's and on the 22nd another one, bringing them to full strength. "A" Co received 6 on the 22nd, 2 on the 24th, 2 on the 26th, making a total of 11.

On the 24th "C" Company moved across the SAUER RIVER assembling vicinity FERSCHWEILER and the 2nd platoon, "B" Co, 691st TD Bn was relieved attachment to "B" Co. On the same day the 1st RCN platoon was attached to "B" Co, the 3rd Rcn Plat to "C" Co.

On the 26th the 2nd Rcn Platoon was attached to "A" Co, and teh company crossed the SAUER RIVER, assembling vicinity ERNZEN in direct support of the 417th Infantry. On the same day "C" Co was relieved of attachment 304th Infantry and placed in direct support.

The mission of all companies during this period was to provide AMczd defense and to support the advance of the infantry by fire as needed, particularly in the reduction of pill boxes. The companies gave close support in this respect. Destroyer crews also fired their Cal .50 MG's at enemy personnel on several occasions. The known damage inflicted during this period is as follows: 7 enemy killed, 1 NEBELWERFER destroyed, 100 pill boxes neutralized, 13 OP's destroyed, 10 dug-outs destroyed, and 4 MG's destroyed. In addition 19 POW's were captured and at least 149 taken by the infantry as a direct and immediate result of our fire.

One M-36 was destroyed during this period on February 27th when it was hit by an "AT gun. The platoon leaser and one man were killed and four men seriously wounded. The destroyer was put into position on a ridge over-looking the town of GILZEN to fire into the town. It fired three rounds before it was knocked out. It is believed that either the first or second round of enemy fire hit the destroyer, which immediately burned. In all the destroyer was hit five times, one round going through the driver's compartment, one through the assistant driver's compartment, and three hitting the tube of the gun.

 

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